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Fall Flavors by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2014
Pumpkin Granola
If you’ve never made your own granola this is a great one to try. Makes for a wonderful fall hike or anytime snack.  Please use whatever fruit and nut combo you’d like.
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
¼ cup dates chopped 
¼ cup golden raisins
2 cups old fashioned oats 
½ cup Pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 t cinnamon
⅛ t Cloves, ground
1 t nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1t vanilla extract
½ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut, unsweetened
½ cup pecans
½ cup pumpkin seeds
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Spread onto  a greased cookie sheet & bake uncovered at 375 degrees, stirring every 30 minutes until crisp and browned slightly. Let cool completely then package in an airtight container. This stores well for a few weeks but only lasts a few hours in my house.

Creamy chicken chili 
Perfect for those Sunday games. Break out the crock pot for this one.
2 chicken breasts (still frozen is ok)
1 can tomatoes
2 ribs celery, sliced
½  med onion, diced
1 sm can green chilies
1 cup corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 pkg.  Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin 
1 t chili powder 
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese 
1 bunch chopped cilantro
Warmed tortillas or croissant for dipping 
Place all ingredients in crock pot on high heat for 2 hours. Pull out chicken, shred meat and return to pot then cook on medium for another 2 hours. Serve hot with salsa verde, Monterey jack cheese & cilantro – I like to serve with a croissant, or another option is cornbread.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
The Ultimate Adventure to the Lonesome North by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2014
Ever wonder what ideas we currently believe are beyond doubt might be proven completely wrong in the future? 

It’s hard to believe that in the nineteen hundreds, the North Pole was one of the last big mysteries. 
The Arctic was a source of endless articles and continuing debate. 

And, not only was the North Pole defying many courageous efforts to reach the “top of the world” but the consensus at the time was that the Polar region contained a huge, warm Polar Sea. 

Top scientists and theorists at the time expected explorers to be able to reach the Pole quite easily once they found the best route through the girdle of ice surrounding it. 

And the explorers aboard The Jeannette whose courage is recounted in “The Kingdom of Ice” felt that they had an improved route through the ice due to an expected warm current from the Pacific that should lead them through the never-ending ice flows toward the Pole.

Author Hampton Sides has great players in the drama within this volume. Captain De Long was already noted as an Arctic explorer and his extravagant financial backer James Bennett was the larger-than-life owner, publisher and editor of the New York Herald. As an innovative, competitive newsman, Bennett believed in creating news – not just reporting it – and found the Arctic quest and its popular appeal irresistible. 

De Long surrounds himself with dedicated seamen who were loyal to his cause and the story of the preparations for the journey is interesting, also, but I found myself anxious for the ultimate adventure on the lonesome icy terrain of the North.

Hampton Sides has a proven touch in taking on sweeping historical sagas with thorough research and drama based upon the documented records and first-person accounts. 

He is also a master at revealing nuances within his overall narrative that bring deeper understandings to the readers. 

We are fortunate that many records of the dangerous and terrifying journey undertaken by De Long and his crew survived along with letters and records from the exploration. 

While the originally conceived goal was not achieved, these courageous men contributed much to our understanding of the frozen regions of the remote North.

If you enjoy history, this book will entertain and amaze you. 
Hampton Sides has another winner in his latest “In the Kingdom of Ice.”

Hampton Sides, contributing editor of Outside and editor of “The Wild File,” is also the author of Ghost Soldiers, Hellhound on His Trail and Blood and Thunder. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Max Malone
Played by a Pair of Babes by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2014
As Tasha and I waxed our way across the tile floor, the song changed in the sound system. Sinatra eased his way into “Too Close for Comfort.”

How did Old Blue Eyes know, I wondered, as Tasha was suddenly clinging to me like a dangerous veil of Velcro. Then I thought maybe Tasha had a remote hidden under her dress. I dismissed that thought quickly, remembering there was no room for such a device.

“Why don’t you come work for me, Max,” Tasha’s husky voice whispered in my ear.

“You already have two slugs, Rocco and Bruno,” I countered with all the conviction I could muster in light of the close quarters.

“Good help’s hard to find in this little city,” she said as her breath curled around my ear.

“I don’t work for people who kill people, my dear.”

Tasha leaned back, her eyes wide, while her black hair surrounded her ivory shoulders like the frame on a portrait in the Louvre. “But you already do,” she said. “Tell me, why were you so blind as to accept Valerie Suppine’s version of her husband’s murder?”

Tasha sounded so sure of herself. But wasn’t that just part of her whole package?

“Which means you have another version, right?”
“Max. Valerie killed her husband. And because of her acquittal, she’ll never have to worry about it, or account for it.”

Tasha swayed gently against me. The coal embers of her eyes burned into mine. I needed a deep breath, but didn’t dare take it. She had enough of an advantage on me already. I tried to clear my head. I thought, could Val have done the dastardly deed? Is Tasha trying to seduce me? And what is the real reason Tasha asked me here? Well, it wasn’t because there were no other men in town who would dance with her.

“Assuming you are right about Val, why did she hire me to come help?

“It’s called cover, Max,” she said. I was falling dangerously close to becoming a victim of her guile – much like a helpless male black widow spider, tangled in a deadly web.

I stepped away from the dance. “Cover for what? A stupid drug charge doesn’t warrant that.”

Tasha shrugs, her raven hair obeying the move, falling off the back of her shoulders as if having taken lessons from Penelope Cruz.

“Yet you answered her call and came to the rescue, like Jim Dandy from a mountain top.”

“There were other reasons,” I said, continuing to give ground like a brigade of Italian soldiers staring into the oncoming tanks of General Patton.

“Other reasons,” she said, her smile broadening, the web tightening. “That little incident on the dock in Sausalito was all she needed, right?”

How did this seductress in the pink stucco house in Reno know about Val’s and my past? I ripped at the web.

“OK sister. You need to come clean. What’s going on? I don’t like playing from behind. Especially in the dark.”

“There, there, Max,” Tasha said, turning away and walking around the back of the bar.

Was she getting a gun? Certainly not. After all, she doesn’t kill people, right?

She held up an envelope. “Since you won’t come work for me, this is all you get.” I walked to the bar and snatched it. “Go ahead, Max. Open it.”

I ripped into it. A stack of hundred dollar bills were paper clipped together. And there was a locker key with a number inscribed on it.

“The five thousand is for the bail bondsman.”

I felt a bead of sweat trickle down my back. Val and Tasha were in this thing together, and I was the unwitting dupe.

“Where’s Val?” I blurted, conceding even more ground.

“Who knows?” she purred, walking around the bar. “It doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

I couldn’t put the pieces together. Not with Tasha in my immediate neighborhood. I turned and walked toward the door.  I stopped and turned back toward her. “Nice middle game, kid,” I said, pleased enough with my tone to give her my index finger salute to the brim of my fedora. “But it’s all about the end game.”

Call me a Bobby Fisher fan.
“Check,” she said, over a confident wink of the eye. “Do you need a ride, mate?”

I hailed a cab and passed through the lights of the Biggest Little City in the World, chewed on my lip, and longed for the simple mysteries of my mountain cabin. Cradled in the locker of the Greyhound bus depot was another envelope. I slipped it into my inside jacket pocket.

I don’t remember much about the long drive back to Portland. A few gas stops complete with gas station food, then an emergency stop for a roll of Tums. But as much as the scenery and the miles were blocked out, my mind was focused on the fact that, quite simply, I had been had. Valerie, the Meanest Little Woman in 13 Western States, and Tasha, the wide-eyed vixen in the pink stucco house, had worked me.

Max Malone. Taken down by two chicks. Two babes. Two skirts. Two tummatas.

Somehow Val’s since-buried husband had stolen a big stash. Val, in cahoots with Tasha, offed him for the dough. Val’s acquittal was orchestrated not so much by Val, but by Tasha. That was part of the deal. What wasn’t part of the deal was Val getting busted for drugs. The coconspirators had to keep their distance. Enter Max, as Tasha had said, “for cover.” Once sprung from jail on the drug charges thanks to my putting up the bail, she split, leaving Tasha her share of the dough, and me without a legal leg to stand on.

I spent the night at my Portland office, and the next morning handed over the envelope to my secretary Francoise. She was delighted with the contents (a five grand bonus for the insult). I rolled the Suburban out of the Pearl District and headed straight to my mountain cabin, having called my good neighbor, Sam, telling him I was on the way. I was surprised at my welcoming party. Katrina was sitting with Sam on my front steps.

“Max, I’m so glad you’re here,” Katrina said. “I’ve missed you desperately. And I’ve had my house broken into twice in the last week.”

“I hope they stole your vacuum cleaner,” I said.

“Oh Max,” she said, wrapping me in a warm, welcoming hug.

After all, I am still Max Malone Private Eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Above Average Temps on Tap by Herb Miller on 10/01/2014
The official start of autumn fell on Sept. 23, and right on schedule our summer ended.

Following the pattern of earlier months, September was mostly warm and sunny, with the average temperature well above normal. In fact, the entire summer has had above average temperatures, with the notable exception of June, which ended with an average temperature one degree below average.

Starting in May, Brightwood’s average temperature was up 3.5 degrees, with July up 3.5, August up 4.0 and September up 5.5 degrees through the end of summer. Government Camp was even more impressive with average temperatures in May up 4.0 degrees, July up 5.5, August up 6.0 and September up 6.5 degrees.
Despite the warm weather, Brightwood had only two days with a high temperature reaching the 90s compared to a normal seven days. 

Precipitation started May 1 and ended with the start of autumn totaling 13.42 inches, which is 96 percent of average.

Although many of us are glad to see the rains return and ease the fire danger, don’t put your hose away just yet, if the forecast for October is accurate.

The National Weather Service forecasts our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation below average during the coming month of October.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low of 42, and a precipitation average of 6.43 inches. 

High temperatures have reached the 70s during 7 of the past 10 years, and into the 60s the remaining 3 years. Lows fell into the 30s during 8 of the past 10 years, and into the upper 20s the remaining 2 years. October has two freezing temperatures on average. A rare snowstorm dumped a record total of 7 inches on Oct. 31, 1994.

During October, Government Camp has an average temperature of 54 degrees, an average low of 36, and a precipitation average of 6.99 inches, which includes an average 5.4 inches of snow. 
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have been evenly divided between the 70s and 60s. Low temperatures have fallen into the 20s most years, although one year dropped to 19 and the other year settled for 30. 

Measurable snowfall occurred during 5 of the last 10 years, with the record of 15 inches measured on Oct. 28, 1961.
Consignment Store Offers 'Fanciful Finds' by Geoff Berteau on 10/01/2014
A place to browse and linger. A place to shop for fanciful finds. A place to bid farewell to your old and surplus treasures. 

At Consignment & Resources, an upscale consignment shop in Welches, you can do just that.

Shirley Rohr and Jeremy Herman, partners in Consignment & Resources, opened their doors to the public in July of this year, and report that with each day the numbers of customers are increasing along with many returnees.

“There is now trust,” Rohr said. “When customers hand over their expensive Lenox to be placed on consignment they want to know who is getting it.”

Rohr and Herman moved to the Mountain about a year ago to “do something together,” and after quizzing local residents what they would like for a new business, a conclusion was reached there was nowhere to shop. As locals expressed they want to buy locally, Rohr and Herman seized on the opportunity to open the consignment store.

For Rohr, this is her first consignment store experience, having formerly owned a full service garden center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while Herman comes from a long line of retail furniture store owners. 

“I love the people here, the ambiance, and the laid back, no rush, down to earth atmosphere,” Rohr said. “The mountains rejuvenate us.”

Among the vintage clocks, lamps, a 1900s vintage oak ice box, and the odd Panama hat at Consignment & Resources, customers will find lots of quality furniture, including some Ethan Allen, tables, glassware, plates, paintings, clothing and jewelry – both costume and real gems.  

There is also a line of organic soaps and lotions. Items on consignment are mostly vintage, slightly used or new and the majority come from local residents. 

Future plans include adding garden art and accessories, and holding garden parties to the rear of the store. 
For customers interested in placing their items, consignments are 60/40 and are received on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The item is usually held for 30 days and if not sold by then the customer will be asked if they would like to lower the price or they have the option to pick it up. 

“Everyone that walks in says what a good feeling and good vibes they get and they love the music we play,” Rohr said. “We dance to the music. Customers have turned into friends who come in weekly.”

Rohr has many stories to share, but be sure to ask her about the flamingo caretaker in Florida. 

The tale will be sure to bring some giggles.

Consignment & Resources is located at 23750 E Greenwood, Welches (behind El Burro Loco), 503-564-9994.

BUSINESS BRIEFCASE

Merit Properties is experiencing growing pains. They have welcomed their two newest brokers to their team and are happy to introduce Maureen Delaney and Kylie Milne, both offering local expertise to provide a high level of service to their clients.

Maureen was born and raised in Canada, and has now lived on the Mountain for many years. She married and raised four children, with her youngest now a senior at Sandy High School. When Maureen is not in the office you can find her on her cozy back porch with a cup of Joe and a treasured book. Besides having a knack for spotting beauty and painting lightning storms, she can also knock out a crowd on her violin. Maureen Delaney can be reached at 971.333.1060.

Kylie has lived in this area for 36 years and previously was a broker with Merit for 14 years. Extremely involved in community activities, she currently serves on the Governor’s Commission for Home Care Workers. In 2010 Kylie became bedridden with severe rheumatoid arthritis, but she works from her home with fellow Merit Broker Cindy Nerison. Cindy provides the footwork and Kylie handles the paperwork and negotiations. They’re quite the team!  Kylie is the only bedridden broker in the state of Oregon. Kylie Milne can be reached at 503.622.6002, ky@teleport.com. Merit Properties is open each day and serves the needs of the Mountain communities from Government Camp to Alder Creek.

It’s not too late to drop by your canned food to McKenzie Dental for their annual food drive. For each donation of canned food, enter to win a Coffee Keurig Brew Station. Open to anyone. Just drop off your donations at McKenzie Dental, 24540 E. Welches Road. Open Mon-Thurs, 503-622-3085. Feed the community and win.

by Frances Berteau/MT
September to Remember ... Everything by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2014
Summer is speeding by and fall is in the air, kids are back to school, sports, scouts you name it. Here’s a few helpful tips and recipes to keep everyone fed. 

Let Kids make their own lunches.
Keep a bin with snacks such as chips, nuts, trail mix, cookies, etc., packed in individual snack bags for kids to grab.
Keep fruit washed and ready to go in the fridge.
Make PB&J, cheese and ham or turkey & cheese Sammie’s cut in half. Freeze in small baggies or wrap and stack in the freezer for kids to grab.  
Kids should grab one of each and pack – having a choice will help them bring home less of their lunches.

Have a “make” Day Season and cook meats in bulk, let cool then divide and freeze into portions. Shredded or cubed chicken is great, cubed ham and ground beef with onions is another option.
Make a few loaves of quick breads like corn bread, white bread etc.
Also make and freeze rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, quinoa and other sides – use within a month or two so you won’t get freezer burn.

Skillet Mac - It’s chili, meats, mac n’cheese 
1 lb ground sirloin or chuck
1 package cooked penne pasta
1 T chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 t cumin 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1T garlic
1 (7 oz can) green chilies
1 green onion chopped
1½ cup chopped onion
½ t oregano
1 (15.5 oz) can pinto or red kidney beans
1 large can of tomatoes
Olive oil

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over med heat. Add in the ground beef, onions, bell pepper and  1t each salt and pepper. Cook until browned then add in the garlic, beans, tomatoes, green chilies and seasonings. Cook for about 15 minutes, adding a little water if too dry, then add in the pasta and toss in the cheese. Serves lots and is better the next day! 

Cookies for breakfast! 
No flour or white sugar in these bad boys!
2 cups oats
2 mashed ripe bananas
½ cup nut butter or applesauce
¼ cup chopped almonds, pecans or any other nuts 
2 t cocoa powder
¼ cup chocolate chips (if desired) 
¼ cup flaked coconut
½ t salt 
2 T honey or agave 
1 t vanilla 
1 dash of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well, bake in a 350 degree oven 20 minutes.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)


Powerful Prose, Tinged with Hope by Sandra Palmer on 09/01/2014
Author William Krueger is known for his mystery series featuring detective Cork O’Conner but in “Ordinary Grace” he has instead crafted a literary novel with a mystery at its heart. The death of a young boy hit by a train on a trestle just outside of town is the tragedy that begins the summer of Frank’s life-changing thirteenth year. Soon another tragedy strikes the small town, a tragedy that hits even closer and Frank – along with most of the small community of New Bremen – is trying to determine if the two calamities are connected. And, of course, the big question is who might be responsible for the two shocking events.

Two families are at the heart of the story. Frank’s family – the Drums – includes his father, the local Methodist minister, his complex and controversial wife; the ever-curious Frank; Jake his wise-in-surprising-ways younger brother and his beautifully gifted older sister Ariel. The Brandts, in contrast, are wealthy and powerful with complex relationships tying them to the Drums. And both families – as well as the ties between them - are put under extreme stress due to the dramatic happenings of that fateful summer of 1961. 

Krueger has a great gift with words that makes the reader’s experience very rewarding.  And Grace in spite of great tragedy is certainly exhibited by many characters in this outstanding novel. I especially loved the gentle faith exhibited by Frank’s father in his counseling of his congregation and as part of his fathering of his two young sons. 

The book is filled with gentle but powerful prose and sadness tinged with hope. And, in spite of the dark, heartbreaking events portrayed, “Ordinary Grace” manages to be uplifting and rewarding. Kruger’s skillful prose and the depth of his finely drawn characters make the reader relish each page while wishing the book was longer. 

The novel was definitely a reading experience I hated to see come to an end. I’m sure that I will be seeking out Kruger’s mystery series to enjoy more of his insightful and poetic writing. I believe that “Ordinary Grace” is one of the best books I’ve read in years with beautiful language, complex characters, fascinating moral themes, a plot illustrating universal truths and a skillfully organized story line right up to the last page. Don’t miss this great read! 

William Kent Krueger is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen mysteries in the Cork O’Connor series, including Trickster’s Point and Tamarack County, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace, which won the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Max Malone
Episode VI: Let's Dance by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/01/2014
I exited the Silver Slipper Casino with no more disguise than a cat with a mouthful of feathers. Let’s just say there was no way I was going to blend in with a street crowd of salivating tourists from every cow town in central California.

I fought my way through the maze and stepped into an alcove that served as the front door to a business that trumpeted: “We Cash Out-of-Town Checks” in lurid red and blue blinking neon.

Having knowingly made a futile offer to the Grimaldi brothers – which was designed to intimidate more than negotiate – I had uncovered the true identity of the brains in the outfit. 

As yet, I didn’t know how difficult this Tasha was going to be, as Rocco and Bruno hadn’t set the bar very high. It was, at least, going to be more interesting, as the black hair that waved off her neck like a midnight ebb tide continued to lap at my senses.

After all …

I dialed the number from the note handed to me by Irene at the casino bar. Three rings later, a husky voice came on.

“Hellooo.”

“This is Max Malone.”
“Max. Good of you to call. Let’s get together over a drink and get to know each other.”

“Name the place, Tasha.”

“I’ll send a car around for you. Wait in front of the Silver Slipper.”

Twenty minutes later a white Cadillac – what else, it was Reno – pulled up and the driver motioned to the back seat. I climbed in. Tasha’s chauffeur was cut from the same mold as Rocco, another bolo tie draped around his neck, wearing dark shades despite the fact it was nearing midnight. 

We didn’t talk. 

He wheeled the Caddy off the main drag, a silver bracelet brushing against the steering wheel’s red felt covering. We followed the Truckee River to the edge of town before pulling into a driveway that paved the way to a pink, stucco, two-story house that was as unassuming as Marilyn Monroe at a USO show. The chauffeur unfolded out his door, and opened mine, apparently staring at me from behind his shades. His upper lip curled and I stifled a laugh. 

He led me to the door and rang the bell – a three-toned jingle of unrecognizable origin.

Tasha opened the door. She had abandoned her black look and adopted a shimmering white house dress that left nothing to the imagination. The long slit from bottom to high-thigh would have been considered overkill by Hugh Hefner at a Playboy party.

Call me a big-time Bunny backer.

I followed the white dress to a full bar off the living room. First edition posters by David Lance Goines peppered the walls. I couldn’t help but notice the sound system and the phrasing of Frank Sinatra as he glided through Mack the Knife. Either Tasha was on to me, or she just had good taste – which are not dissimilar notions.
She lifted a bottle of Perrier Jouet from an ice bucket and poured two glasses.

“You drink champagne don’t you Max?”

“Only after midnight,” I said, then glanced casually at my watch. “You’re in luck.”

“Well then, here’s to late nights,” she said, lifting her glass. We clinked the crystal glasses. She held my eyes in hers like a lynx fondles her kittens, as we drank.

“There’s really no reason for us to be on opposite sides of things, Max,” she purred.

“Actually, there may be two-hundred fifty thousand reasons, Tasha.”

“Honestly Max. That’s not that much money.”

“Then what is it? There must be some reason you send the Grimaldi brothers out on missions they can’t possibly accomplish.”

“It’s the business of doing business in Reno, Max. They’re cannon fodder.” She shrugs and a full lock of hair falls forward. “But your gal Val. That’s another story, Max. She’s bad for business. You see, I can’t be insulted. If word gets around that something like Valerie Suppine got the best of Tasha … well … that wouldn’t be good for business.”

“YOUR business,” I said firmly. Then waited before: “And what exactly is your business?”

Tasha spread her arms around the corners of the house. “Being comfortable, Max. I like my comforts.”

“So let me do my business, Tasha,” I said, leaning forward, grabbing the champagne bottle and refilling our glasses. “Your boys, Rocco and Bruno, screwed up, and Val ended up with a pile of your money. Then they blew it again, thinking it was Val’s husband who had the money. He ends up dead because Rocco and Bruno got overly excited knowing how displeased you’d be. The last thing you need is for Val to get stuck with the murder rap and end up in jail, because it will still look like you got taken advantage of. So Rocco and Bruno stumble again trying to intimidate Val with a drug possession charge. Val calls me in, and the game changes again. Now, you see that the Rocco-Bruno-Val dance is a cheap tango and you and I need to get acquainted and do a Viennese waltz.”

I wait. The depths of her dark eyes deepen. Her eyelids slowly close, then rise again from the coals. 

“Not bad, Max, for a back-country private eye. So all we need to do tonight, is find a solution.” She takes another full eye contact sip of her champagne.

“I already made your lackeys an offer.”

“Right. Now make Tasha an offer.”

Sinatra was pouring his lyric over “One for my Baby, and One More for the Road.” I stood up.

“Let’s dance,” I said.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Hot September in the Forecast by Herb Miller on 09/01/2014
The 95 degree temperature set in Brightwood Aug.11 is the hottest day this summer which applies also to the 88 degree high in Government Camp set on the same day.

The next day experienced thunderstorms, including thefirst rain shower of the month. The shower that accompanied the thunderstorm in Brightwood amounted to .10 inches, but the thunderstorm in Government Camp dumped .45 inches in about a half hour.

For the most part this has been a sunny, warm, dry month with temperatures averaging well above normal, although no record-setting heat waves. It’s interesting to note that last year September was extremely wet, with Brightwood getting drenched with 11.22 inches of rain compared to a record 12.61 inches measured in 1959. Government Camp was doused with 9.73 inches of rain, compared with a record 12.71 inches, also in 1959.

The National Weather Service again forecasts our area will have above average temperatures with precipitation near average during the coming month of September.

During September, Brigtwood has an average high emperature of 70 degrees, an average low of 47, and a precipitation average of 3.47 inches. High temperatures have reached the 90s during 3 of the past 10 years, into the 80s during 6 years, and the remaining year couldn’t struggle above the 70s. Lows were evenly divided between the 30s – including the record 32 set during 2005 – and the low 40s.

During September, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 42, and a precipitation average of 3.44 inches, which includes an average of .25 inches of snow. During the past 10 years high temperatures have reached into the 80s during 7 years, with the remaining 3 years reaching the 70s. Only one year had a low temperature in the 20s during the past 10 years, with all the rest dropping into the 30s. Last year, a trace of snow was recorded during each of the days from Sept. 26 to 29, with the record 3-inch total measured Sept. 23, 1984.
The Business End by Geoff Berteau on 09/01/2014
It’s twig furniture. Comfortable, totally unique and a certain conversation starter. Forget the sensible recliner in the corner, this furniture takes center stage.

Mike Martini started making “twig” furniture after noticing a friend’s twig chair on a porch during the 80s and decided he would make one too. Numerous twig rocking chairs later, Martini has developed a business called Forest Furniture where he skillfully creates intricate works of art in his workshop in the woods in Welches.

Martini’s passion for his twig furniture is evident. Each of his pieces is different, taking about a month to create a complete piece of furniture. Loveseats, chairs and the ever popular rocking chair are shaped from bendy pieces of red alder.

“I only use red alder wood, and you have to work with green wood,” Martini said. He noted that a piece must be used within a week otherwise it will lose its flexibility and not bend properly. The sturdier and dry pieces of wood are used as the frame, and a finished chair has a coat of oil applied to the wood which preserves it.

“But, getting the wood is good exercise,” he said.

As a high jumper, Martini received a track scholarship to the University of Portland, and went on to graduate from the University of Oregon following a tour in Vietnam. 

Always gravitating toward the arts, Martini dabbled in pottery and stained glass. He also tried his hand working in the fishing industry in Alaska for awhile. 

“It just wasn’t me,” he said. “I consider this the only thing I do really well,” Martini added.

Martini yearned to be self-employed while working the graveyard shift during the 80s at Mt. Hood Community College. After spotting his friend’s twig chair and figuring out how to build one himself, that was all the inspiration he needed to set up his own business on the Mountain. 

“I do a lot of custom made furniture but mostly the rocking chair is the one people want the most,” Martini said. “I have probably made about 300 rocking chairs since 1986.”

Jeff Williams, owner of Williams Pharmacy in Welches, displays a table and some chairs in his store made by Martini.

“He made us a beautiful table and six dining chairs, and he was so clever, every one of them has a “W” in the woodwork. He is just a brilliant artist,” Williams said.

Passers-by have a chance to try out the twig furniture when Martini holds periodic sales on Hwy. 26 in Welches by the Old Produce Stand. 

“People always want to sit on a piece,” Martini said. 

Martini noted that commercially made furniture has a place in our lives, “but it’s just not special. My stuff is one of a kind.”

Mike Martini and ‘Forest Furniture’ can be contacted at 503-622-3036. 

by Frances Berteau/MT
Hot Off the Presses by Taeler Butel on 08/02/2014
Confession: I’m not always in the mood to cook but I’m pretty much always in the mood to eat. Perfect for movie night. No fancy equipment needed – a couple of cast iron pans come in handy or even a brick covered in aluminum foil. Cut and freeze extras for kids lunches and quick snacks.

Here are a few examples, let us know what you come up with!

How it’s done:
Heat the large skillet over med high heat with ¼” of olive oil on the bottom (I use a grill pan). Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Make a quick herb aioli by simply chopping a few herbs (1t  finely) and then mixing with 2T mayo -  I like to also put in about ½ t of Dijon mustard. Spread this mixture on the opposite side of the bread for a savory sandwich. Place your toppings on the other slice of bread, and once oil is hot carefully lay sandwich down and place an aluminum foil covered brick or pan on top of sandwich. Lift pan and flip after about 6 mins.

Chicken and Mozzarella Panini:
Focaccia, or a white crusty bread
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella or sliced fresh mozzarella
Small handful of spinach leaves
1 t sun dried tomatoes 
Thick sliced chicken breast (about 4 oz for each)
Herb aioli 

Ultimate ham and cheese Panini:
Potato bread
4 oz Black Forest ham
Sharp cheddar cheese (1/8 cup each sandwich)
Thinly sliced granny smith apple
Arugula leaves
Dijon mustard & mayo (about 1 t each )

Some other ideas:
Grilled veggie Panini 
Roasted red pepper, goat cheese, roasted eggplant and artichoke hearts 
Nutter fluffer Panini 
Creamy peanut butter or Nutella, sliced banana, marshmallow fluff on a grainy bread

Homemade Yukon gold chips:
I cook these kettle style and then bake to let crisp in the oven, top with sea salt and parsley as well as a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and lemon.
1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes sliced very thin
1 T sea salt
1 cup olive oil
1 T minced parsley
1 T parmesan cheese
½ t black pepper, fresh cracked
1 smashed clove of garlic
1 small lemon (optional)
Here’s how:
Heat oven to 375. Slice potatoes and lay on paper towels to absorb moisture. In a large skillet  (I use cast iron), heat oil over med high heat and add in garlic. Place one layer of “chips” at a time and fry on one side about 3-4 minutes using tongs to flip over, and  once they are golden brown place on a sheet pan . When all the chips are fried place pan in oven for about 10 minutes until dry and crisp. Immediately top with salt, pepper, parsley, cheese and a  squeeze of lemon juice then serve immediately.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
Vintage Craig Johnson by Sandra Palmer on 08/02/2014
Winter is setting in on the high plains when Sheriff Longmire agrees to investigate a death just outside his jurisdiction. Not only is he disturbed about the death of a fellow lawman but it is also a favor for former sheriff and friend Lucian Connally. A respected Campbell County deputy, Gerald Holman evidently took his own life but it just doesn’t make sense to Walt Longmire who feels an obligation to clear the case in spite of the imminent birth of his first grandchild and the plane tickets his daughter has booked for him to fly east to Philadelphia to be there for the happy event.

Soon Walt, his Native America friend Henry Standing Bear, Lucian and Walt’s Under-Sheriff Victoria Moretti are deep into an investigation that turns up a number of missing person cases that officer Holman was investigating before his death. 

As frigid temperatures and deep snow kick in, Walt doggedly pursues the leads wherever they lead and no matter how inconvenient. The trail leads to a seedy strip club run by the sheriff’s wife, a soon-to-close rural post office whose disgruntled employee knows many secrets, a small casino in the town of Deadwood and a mysterious and historic hunting lodge deep in the snowy Black Hills of South Dakota.
 
“Any Other Name” is vintage Craig Johnson and fans of his Longmire series of mysteries will love this new installment. For those who have not ventured into Johnson’s Longmire books, a real treat awaits you. 

The tales are narrated by Walt Longmire, a remarkable sheriff in a rural district of Wyoming with a reputation for fair play, toughness and dogged determination. Walt’s dry humor and humorous observations about life, nature and law enforcement make each novel delightful, the ongoing characters that span the books are well developed over the course of the series and come to feel like old friends in a small town. And for those who have dipped into the Longmire TV series, it’s hard not to hear actor Robert Taylor’s voice as Walt Longmire or Lou Diamond Phillips as the voice of Henry Standing Bear – the casting is that good.

But there is no substitute for Craig Johnson spinning mysteries as Walt Longmire on paper. This volume is the eleventh novel in the series. 

I’d recommend that you pace yourself but plan to enjoy them all. Johnson has a unique writing voice and while it is not high art, it’s mighty fine writing.

(Craig Johnson is the author of eight previous novels in the Walt Longmire series. He has a background in law enforcement and education. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.)
Episode V: A Midnight Ebb Tide by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/02/2014
Having let Rocco Grimaldi know we had business to tend to, he tried to brush past me, sticking a bony finger against my shoulder which, to his way of thinking, meant he was too busy a guy to spend time with the likes of me.

His big brother Bruno was a full two steps behind, and no one was paying any attention to us – something that old-timers at the old-time Silver Slipper Casino had practiced over the years. I grabbed a handful of Rocco’s shirt, stifling a chuckle as his bull’s head bolo tie stabled itself between the fence posts of my fist.

I quickly assessed the look on Rocco’s face. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being astonishment that anyone would challenge the great Rocco Grimaldi on his own turf, and 10 being utter terror, he registered an 8.5.

Call me a standing member of the Richter Scale Club.

Meanwhile, Bruno’s dumbfounded nature was causing him to move forward – albeit at glacial speed. Rocco tried to twist loose, but I tightened the grip and leaned close to his ear.

“I never mix business with pleasure, Rocco,” I rasped. “And right now I’m quite pleased stuffing your stupid tie closer to your Adam’s apple. So what say we go find a quiet table, and get down to business.”

Rocco shrugged his shoulders in submission and I released his bolo tie from captivity, never breaking eye contact. He straightened his tacky tweed jacket, removed the toothpick from his mouth in a manner that suggested he was performing at his jaunty best, and motioned toward the back of the casino. Bruno held his ground, an activity he obviously found quite stylish, but oafish to anyone with half a brain, much less to a private eye of my considerable career dealing with two-bit wise guys that had been perfectly described to me by my client, Val.

We walked around Bruno, Rocco giving another tug on his jacket, and made our way through the casino bar to a booth in the back. Irene, the bartender, had made her way to the far end of the bar in case of further trouble, and she gave me a subtle smile, the crow’s feet in the corners of her eyes doing a buck and wing.

Rocco slid into the booth, Bruno next to him as if forming a line of defense. The Maginot Line had nothing on these two knuckleheads.

Call me anything but a Francophile.

Before I could get to my opening gambit, a woman approached out of the shadows. My internal alarm system went off like a shuttle liftoff – that is, one that is always on time, always in anticipation of inexorable possibilities of exploration, but always with an undercurrent of impending disaster.

In this order, I noticed: black heels, legs ascending to the short cut of a black dress, a low curve off the shoulders, black hair that waved off the neck and down the back like a midnight ebb tide, and smoky complexion that surrounded eyes that smoldered like two lumps of anxious anthracite. The next thing had to be that her name was Natasha.

“Everything OK, Rocco?” she hummed.

“Yeah, for now, Tasha,” Rocco said obediently.

I nearly had the name right.

She burned her eyes into mine as she turned, assuring that would fixate me into watching her sway away. It worked. Tasha was trouble. And by now, you know all about Max Malone and trouble.

Right here in Reno city.

I clasped my hands on the booth table, dousing the fiery coals that Tasha had spread in her wake.

“Listen up, Rocco,” I opened the game. “I’m an old friend of Valerie Suppine. She’s also hired me to take care of things. In this case, you two are the things.”

“You know who you’re talkin’ to?” Rocco fired back, with all the ferocity of a neutered dachshund. 

“As a matter of fact, yes. Because this little town has a law enforcement establishment with all the commitment to justice as a cross-eyed scorpion; because you guys hung a murder rap on my client, that, of course, sunk out of the court room like a white sidewall in a grease pit; all because you dolts couldn’t keep track of a stack of money even though your supposed adversary was a night club singer with all the crooked savvy of a Benedictine monk; and now you’re trying to intimidate my client into leading you to your money by planting drugs on her – a woman, I might add, who is meaner than both of you; and what that leaves regarding ‘who I’m talking to’ is that you now get to deal with Max Malone who is prepared to bust this murder case wide open, at best, or, at worst, banish the two of you so far from Reno that Elko, Nevada, may allow you to stay a few nights at the Motel 6 on your way to nowhere.”

“He talks a lot, huh, boss?” Bruno blurted.

Rocco kept looking at me, ignoring Bruno.

“What are you offering?” Rocco blundered.

Without hesitation I devised an offer. “Ten cents on the dollar in exchange for a full recorded confession to Frankie’s murder, in front of an attorney, that I will hold hostage.”

“You think I’m crazy?” Rocco snarled.

“No. I think you’re stupid. And that’ll make it easy for me to paste Frankie’s murder case on the front page of the Reno rag. And that’ll make you dream of the 25 Gs you left behind and that Motel 6 you traded for federal prison.”

Rocco squirmed in his seat. Bruno looked confused, as usual.

“I’ll get back to ya,” Rocco responded through a tight grimace.

“You do that,” I said, flipping my business card on the table. “ You’ve got 24 hours.”

I stood up and walked slowly away. Irene motioned me to the bar and handed me a note. “Call me at this number. Tasha.”

I shot a call to Val as I exited the casino, and asked her who this Tasha was.

“Hah” Val responded bitterly. “So she’s in the picture. She’s a vixen who can track a money and testosterone trail from Reno to Las Vegas.”

I had a phone call to make.
 
After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
August will be Steamy by Herb Miller on 08/02/2014
The 94-degree temperature set in Brightwood July 1 could be the hottest day for the summer. The first three weeks were dry except for a brief period of precipitation accompanied by a thunderstorm in Brightwood July 13. The third week ushered in three days of showers, welcomed throughout the Northwest by those fighting fires. 
Clear, warm weather returned for the rest of the month, with temperatures averaging nearly 4 degrees above normal in Brightwood, and 5 degrees above normal in Government Camp.

The National Weather Service has moderated its thoughts about El Nino and based upon current observations expects the conditions to peak during the late autumn or early winter, with lowered impact. Regardless, our area is forecast to have above average temperatures during August, with precipitation near average.

During August, Brightwood has an average temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.48 inches. High temperatures have reached the 90s during nine of the past 10 years, with the remaining year settling for the 80s. Lows dropped into the 40s for all but one year during the past 10, with the exception being a 39-degree reading. Of interest, during last year, July went the entire month without a drop of rain – for the first time in 36 years of records.

During August, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.64 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during four years, into the 80s during five years, with the remaining year unable to get above the 70s. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during seven years and into the 40s during the remaining three years.

A Tale of Melanoma by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2014
Skin cancers are alarmingly on the rise. While we think of Oregon as a “rainy place,” in fact, we have the fifth highest rate of skin cancer in the nation. Skin cancers rank as the second most common form of cancer in women. 

Cancer cells are cells that have somehow been damaged. Cells are damaged by radiation, by chemicals, and by irritation. The following is a detailed history of a melanoma that was 20 years in the making. Today matters. 

A female patient in her twenties had two or three bad sunburns in her late teen years. Growing up in California before sunscreen was even invented, she used baby oil as a sun lotion. This offered absolutely zero protection from the sun’s harmful rays and actually allowed the radiation from the sun to penetrate her young skin. But who knew?

Years later, now in her 30s, the patient lived on a farm where she generously allowed a group of friends to stay for a few days. There being only one bathroom for all of the residents and guests, the supply of clean, dry towels soon ran out. People resorted to grabbing whatever damp towel was hanging over the towel bar. 

Two weeks after the guests left the household was left with a scabies infestation. This is a small mite that burrows under the skin causing extreme itching. The itching was especially intense on the woman’s lower left leg. 

In those days, the infestation was treated with repeated topical application of a chemical wash called Kwell. Those were strong chemicals, but who knew?

Now in her 40s the patient goes through a time of grief – a death in the family, an imminent move, stresses that lower the immune system.  

When your immune system is not up to snuff, you get sick. So this patient, who as a child had been able to roll in poison oak with perfect immunity, now had the lowered immunity that caused her to get poison oak while on a picnic. The intense itching once again was felt on the lower left leg and the irritation caused by scratching caused a new mole to form. The mole grew in the exact spot where the scabies burrow had been 10 years earlier. Irritation, but who knew? 

Though a hospital health fair was the last place this patient felt like going after a funeral, she went to have her lower left leg checked. And was told to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. 

That was 28 years ago and she’s allowed her story to be told. 

A skin cancer 20 years in the making. The patient had the melanoma removed within a few days and no further treatment was needed. 

Yes, 28 years ago. Catching skin cancer early results in better outcome. Get checked yearly. And don’t use tanning beds, no matter what your age.
A Tale of Melanoma by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2014
Skin cancers are alarmingly on the rise. While we think of Oregon as a “rainy place,” in fact, we have the fifth highest rate of skin cancer in the nation. Skin cancers rank as the second most common form of cancer in women. 

Cancer cells are cells that have somehow been damaged. Cells are damaged by radiation, by chemicals, and by irritation. The following is a detailed history of a melanoma that was 20 years in the making. Today matters. 

A female patient in her twenties had two or three bad sunburns in her late teen years. Growing up in California before sunscreen was even invented, she used baby oil as a sun lotion. This offered absolutely zero protection from the sun’s harmful rays and actually allowed the radiation from the sun to penetrate her young skin. But who knew?

Years later, now in her 30s, the patient lived on a farm where she generously allowed a group of friends to stay for a few days. There being only one bathroom for all of the residents and guests, the supply of clean, dry towels soon ran out. People resorted to grabbing whatever damp towel was hanging over the towel bar. 

Two weeks after the guests left the household was left with a scabies infestation. This is a small mite that burrows under the skin causing extreme itching. The itching was especially intense on the woman’s lower left leg. 

In those days, the infestation was treated with repeated topical application of a chemical wash called Kwell. Those were strong chemicals, but who knew?

Now in her 40s the patient goes through a time of grief – a death in the family, an imminent move, stresses that lower the immune system.  

When your immune system is not up to snuff, you get sick. So this patient, who as a child had been able to roll in poison oak with perfect immunity, now had the lowered immunity that caused her to get poison oak while on a picnic. The intense itching once again was felt on the lower left leg and the irritation caused by scratching caused a new mole to form. The mole grew in the exact spot where the scabies burrow had been 10 years earlier. Irritation, but who knew? 

Though a hospital health fair was the last place this patient felt like going after a funeral, she went to have her lower left leg checked. And was told to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. 

That was 28 years ago and she’s allowed her story to be told. 

A skin cancer 20 years in the making. The patient had the melanoma removed within a few days and no further treatment was needed. 

Yes, 28 years ago. Catching skin cancer early results in better outcome. Get checked yearly. And don’t use tanning beds, no matter what your age.
A Tasty Fourth by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2014
There are few things as satisfying to me as a well executed meal for family and friends. I have a few rules when it comes to the Fourth of July menu which by the way is the third most important meal of the year. 

1.There must be plenty of food for everyone and their mothers
2. Make dishes that can sit at room temp for a few hours without turning (aka no mayo)
3. Quality over quantity – make just a few things perfectly instead of 11 things OK
4. When someone asks if they can bring something, always say yes.  I prefer people  to bring a beverage and chips and that way you get a nice variety
5. Make a classic menu but add your own touches 
6. Class it up with table linens – reusable dishes, candles, etc. 
7. If it can be done in advance it is worth doing in advance
Now let’s get cookin’

Pulled bbq chicken
4 large split chicken breasts bone-in and skin on
Olive oil
Sea or kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 Maui (or other sweet) onion, 1 finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T tomato paste
1 cup all-natural (100%) pineapple juice
1 t chicken base 
1 cup smoky BBQ sauce
Hawaiian sandwich buns
Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkle about 1T of salt and 1T of pepper all over skin. Grill on med heat for about 10 mins each side or bake in an oven on a sheet pan at 400 for approx 25 mins or until juices run clear. 
Make the sauce: Add olive oil and onions to a large sauce pan and cook on med heat until translucent, add in the garlic and cook for one minute. Add in remaining ingredients besides buns. Kick the heat up and let it boil, reduce heat, then cover and simmer ½ hour.
While the chicken is still warm shred with your fingers or two forks. Place meat in a bowl and toss enough sauce to coat. Spoon into buns and top with more sauce and coleslaw, as well as bread and butter pickles 

Street corn
5 ears fresh corn, husked 
For the Spread: 
¼cup cream cheese room temp
2 T olive oil 
1 T butter room temp 
½ t garlic powder 
Juice from one lime 
For the Topping: 
¼ cup grated Cotija or a feta cheese 
1 t smoked paprika (or chili powder if you want heat) 
Chopped cilantro
Soak 5 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Pierce a skewer halfway into the bottom of each corn cob. 
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the corn directly over the heat, cover and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning often, until the kernels are spotted brown. 
Meanwhile, combine the spread ingredients in a small bowl, and the topping ingredients in another small bowl. Set aside. 
Carefully remove the corn cob from the grill and transfer to a large platter. Smear the spread all over each corn cob, then sprinkle evenly with the topping. Serve immediately.
Beauty and Terror in WWII by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2014
Anthony Doerr’s elegant language fills this compelling novel with exquisite descriptions of beauty and terror during World War II in Germany and France.  

He populates the story with fresh characters the reader can truly appreciate and care about as he weaves the stories together in ways that are not predictable or expected. He skillfully leaves just enough unresolved for the reader to fill in some of the blanks and to allow a bit of mystery to pervade the book’s conclusion.

The heroine is Marie-Laure LeBlanc, whose father is a uniquely talented locksmith and woodworker who is charged with oversight of all the many locks and security measures for the Museum of Natural History in Paris. 

Marie-Laure lost her sight at six years of age due to cataracts and her father has gone to great lengths to raise her to be independent in spite of her blindness, even creating a detailed scale model of the neighborhood in miniature so that she can learn to navigate by locating landmarks and street markers – eventually by memory. 
She has cultivated a deep love for the natural world and senses its beauty through touch and smell. She also appreciates music, literature and science and her father’s connections with the cultural life of Paris and the Museum has offered many opportunities to expand her intellectual world.

Much of the novel’s action takes place in the walled-in city of Saint-Malo on the Breton coast during the German occupation where Marie-Laure and her father have fled after Paris is overrun by German forces. Eventually her path crosses that of the novel’s other protagonist, a young German named Werner who is a prodigy with electronics and radios in particular.  Their meeting turns out to be pivotal for both of them and climactic but bittersweet as well.

Telling the story from the perspective of two exceptional young people allows the author to provide a unique perspective on the era. But Doerr does not stop there. Rich relationships populate the novel and bring the reader into a real intimacy with the action and the challenging times. Werner’s “inside the Reich” experiences provide a unique perspective on the Nazi training and indoctrination of talented youth to fill unique roles in the German military machine. However, Werner’s intelligence and sensitivity, while repressed, still survive and offer hope in spite of the war’s sadness that has destroyed the spirits of so many.

“All the Light We Cannot See” is extraordinarily well written and illuminating, a unique reading experience.

(Anthony Doerr is the author of four books: Memory Wall, The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. His fiction has won numerous prizes. He teaches occasionally in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.)

Max Malone
5 Inches & 50 I.Q. Points by Max Malone, Private Eye on 07/01/2014
With two thousand dollars of Val’s purloined money stashed in my pocket, I zipped to the bank and wired half of it to Francoise, my secretary in Portland. It would be odd to an average chap that with that one deft transaction two virtually unappeasable women had been appeased.

But not for me. I have walked that tightrope for a couple decades like the High-Wire Malone that I am. The Big Top of Reno was just another road show.

Now it was time to turn my attention to Bruno and Rocco Grimaldi – the brothers who, if Val can be trusted, killed her husband and were after their 250 G’s that they, themselves, had doubtlessly obtained through more nefarious means than even Val.

There was no reason for me to try to untangle that web any more than there was a particular reason for me to trust Val – the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States. But she hired me to run these two-bit thugs to ground, and owing a debt to Val that will never be satisfied, the choice was an easy one.

I wheeled my Suburban into the parking lot of the seedy Silver Slipper Casino – which, according to Val, was the hangout of the Grimaldi brothers. The Slipper had managed to hang onto its space on the Reno strip despite the encroachment and expansion of the big-ticket casinos. Only two stories tall, the Slipper was leaned on heavily by Harrah’s on one side and the Nugget on the other. But the Slipper just didn’t seem to fit any more.

I sidled through the saloon doors like Pat Garrett on the trail of Billy the Kid, to the tune of “El Paso” scratching along over the house stereo system in its never-ending path to Rose’s back door.

I was never much for Marty Robbins.

Instinctively, I headed straight to the bar. Like the Slipper itself, the bartender had seen better days, but she was easily forgiven, having watched my approach with a professional smile that exposed a spray of crow’s feet that strolled from her sleepy blue eyes.

“Nice hat,” she rasped.

“It’s a fedora,” I returned.

“No kidding.” The crows feet were doing a two-step as Marty Robbins continued through the badlands of New Mexico. “Wanna drink?”

“A Heineken, for openers.”

“Well, we never close, stranger.”

I pushed the brim of my fedora high on my forehead. “I’m Max.”

“I’ll say,” as she leaned back flaunting her name tag.

“Nice to meet you Irene.”

She dropped the Heineken onto the tired bar while deftly flipping a bar napkin underneath – a ritual she had perfected in her long journey through the wars of her profession.

She drifted down the bar to other patrons as, mercifully, the cowboy had finally arrived at Rose’s back door. Soon now, he would die in the dance hall girl’s arms and the epic would come to an end. Half-way through my Heineken, with Irene planted once again in front of me, I got down to business.

“I’m looking for the Grimaldi brothers, doll face.”

“Hmmm. You don’t look like their type, Max.”

“I’m not. That’s why I need to talk to them.”

“Well, if you promise to come back for another beer, they’re over your left shoulder at the first 7-card stud table.”

Without turning, I fished for some money, but she held up her hand. “I’ll start you a tab, Max.”

There were five players, a dealer, and two empty chairs. Bruno and Rocco were too obvious. They sat side-by-side, Bruno hulking over his cards, Rocco chewing on a toothpick. The three other players could have been from Cleveland. I stood at the empty chair next to Rocco and waited for the dealer to finish the hand. He nodded at me to take a seat, which I did, making certain none of Rocco’s tacky tweed jacket rubbed off on me. He turned too quickly toward me and stared through sunglasses that went out of style long before Sonny Bono crashed. The toothpick bounced from one corner of his mouth to the other, exposing a gold tooth that must have been obtained during an odd time when Rocco was having a good week.

I bought in and polished off my Heineken while the dealer spent two cards on each of us. A cocktail waitress, no doubt tipped off by Irene, was at the ready and asked if she could get me another.

“Sure thing, and get Rocco and Bruno here one as well,” I said, looking at my two down cards, 9 of hearts, 3 of spades – perfect for my first hand. Slowly, Bruno turned to the waitress and handed her his empty glass. Rocco stopped him and turned to me.

“We buy our own drinks, pal,” he said, trying his desperate best to sound like a wise guy.

“Really? I just thought you might need some assistance, seeing as how you’re playing against such card sharks as these,” I said, throwing my shoulder in the direction of the Cleveland cats, who obligingly shifted in their squeaky chairs.

The face-up cards arrived – I got a King of Diamonds – accompanied by Roy Orbison on the house stereo. Things were looking up. I was high and bet twenty bucks and flashed a smile as broad as the brim on my fedora directly into my mirror image in Rocco’s garish glasses. Rocco folded his 10 of clubs, but Bruno called with his 7 of diamonds. In unison, yet slightly out of order, Cleveland bowed out. Second cards, I got one of Bruno’s 7’s, and he pulled a deuce. I made the price of playing fifty bucks, just short of the pot limit, a move that was wasted on Bruno. Rocco turned away and looked sternly at Bruno. “You fold, idiot,” Rocco said.

Bruno tossed in his hand. The two-bit hustlers stood up and cashed out. I took my winnings, put the chips in my pocket, and stood with them. I had Rocco by five inches and Bruno by fifty IQ points.

“We have business,” I said, chuckling at the gnashed toothpick.

“Sez who?” Rocco said, standing as tall as he could while Roy Orbison wrapped his four-octave voice around Pretty Woman.

“Sez Max Malone, private eye,” I said flatly, after all.

by Larry Berteau/MT
July Will Be Hot by Herb Miller on 07/01/2014
The first 11 days of June were completely dry with temperatures averaging well above normal – not at all like the weather we frequently associate with Rose Festival.

The following week was the exact opposite with temperatures averaging well below normal and rain a daily event.

Warmer and drier then made a brief comeback until the final week when unsettled weather, occasionally accompaanied by showers, predominated. But putting things in perspective, we should be grateful for the moisture that helps to control the fire danger.

Based mainly on El Nino indications, the National Weather Service expects our area to have above average temperatures and about average precipitation this July.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.32 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 100s in four years, into the 90s for three years, and into the 80s during the remaining three years. 

The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 degrees will occur at least once during July. 

Averaged over 10 years, Brightwood has 27 days reaching 90 degrees or higher in July. Low temperatures dropped into the lower 40s without exception during the last 10 years.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.06 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, and into the 80s during the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during eight years and into the 40s during the remaining two years.
July Will Be Hot by Herb Miller on 07/01/2014
The first 11 days of June were completely dry with temperatures averaging well above normal – not at all like the weather we frequently associate with Rose Festival.

The following week was the exact opposite with temperatures averaging well below normal and rain a daily event.

Warmer and drier then made a brief comeback until the final week when unsettled weather, occasionally accompaanied by showers, predominated. But putting things in perspective, we should be grateful for the moisture that helps to control the fire danger.

Based mainly on El Nino indications, the National Weather Service expects our area to have above average temperatures and about average precipitation this July.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.32 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 100s in four years, into the 90s for three years, and into the 80s during the remaining three years. 

The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 degrees will occur at least once during July. 

Averaged over 10 years, Brightwood has 27 days reaching 90 degrees or higher in July. Low temperatures dropped into the lower 40s without exception during the last 10 years.

During July, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 46, and a precipitation average of 1.06 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 90s during three years, and into the 80s during the remaining seven years. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during eight years and into the 40s during the remaining two years.
On the Road Again by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2014
Officially or unofficially we feel that summer is here. Though airline travel is down since 9/11 other forms of vehicular travel are up. Four out of five people will travel by car for their vacations. But whether traveling near or far, illness on the road is far worse than illness at home. Let’s be as prepared as possible.

The farther away you plan to travel, the sooner you should begin preparations. Up to a month before traveling you can begin shoring up your immune system to deal with any onslaughts. Sleep and diet are under appreciated as “health aids.” Since sleep is difficult for many while traveling, consider a small travel pillow. You can put a few drops of lavender essential oil on the corners of your pillow to help you relax and get to sleep. Do not put the essential oil in the middle of the pillow where you put your head as you don’t want to cause irritation to the eyes. 

Since car travel is up and many are traveling with children, why not be prepared to calm children (and adults) in the car as well. That same lavender essential oil or Rescue Remedy (or both) in a spray bottle filled with water will quiet everyone in the car as well as drown out the odor of those smelly feet.

Essential oils and homeopathics are small, light, and easy to travel with, whatever your luggage choice or destination. However, you should package the oils separately from the homeopathics as the oils may decrease the effectiveness of the homeopathics. In addition to band aids and healing salves, you can carry homeopathic Arnica 30c for those inevitable minor to moderate sprains, strains or other injuries. Arnica will even help with bee stings or other insect bites.

Remember that nutrition is an important part of your health. Increasing consumption of ginger, mint, or turmeric before leaving on your vacation will improve your traveler’s digestion. Your tummy will be happier with a decrease of sugar in your diet. Sugar decreases the ability of your white blood cells (defenders) within a half hour of consumption and lasts for five hours. After two hours immune function is reduced by 50 percent. Plus sugar consumption makes people cranky and irritable, and not just the kids! While vacation treats are inevitable, if you increase fiber and protein you will keep everyone as balanced and happy as possible.

Probably the most incapacitating traveler’s problem is diarrhea. Even with the admonition of using only bottled water for brushing teeth or washing fruit, keep in mind that not all places on earth have dishwashers or use boiling water for washing dishes. In some countries it is not advisable to eat raw fruits or vegetables. Forgetting is easy. I once got sick from eating guacamole in Mexico. If you buy the avocados and make your own guacamole with processed salsa and not with fresh tomatoes or onions this will probably not happen.

If intestinal imbalance does result in diarrhea or vomiting, be prepared. It’s easier than trying to find a grocery store or pharmacy when in the woods or traveling in a foreign country. Carry some bottles of carbonated water to which you can add activated charcoal or psyllium powder to absorb the toxins you may have ingested. Powdered ginger, turmeric, or mint tea bags can help too. Pineapple juice and fresh papayas if you are traveling to Hawaii will ease digestive woes as well. 

In a pinch (no pun intended) you could use cinnamon, cloves, oregano, or thyme off the spice shelf to make tea. If you have essential oils of oregano or thyme they may be diluted with olive oil and applied topically to the tummy area. Test a small area for irritation before applying, especially with children and anyone with compromised skin issues. Best to avoid the sun under such circumstances. Using essential oils internally, even in drop doses could lead to irritation of mucous membranes. 

All of the above mentioned remedies are easy to obtain from Naturopaths (capsules of turmeric, ginger, homeopathics, salves) Some can be found at local grocery stores (teas, pineapple juice), or off the shelves in your home (powdered spices). Let’s face it, vacations are few and far between so let’s not lose any time being uncomfortable. With a little pre-planning we can be happier while we’re on the road again.  

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091. Starting this month, she will also join the group practice of John A. Green, MD, and Jennifer Reid, ND, in Oregon City. The phone number is 503-722-4270 and the website is theevergreencenter@msn.com)
Picnic and Party Time by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2014
Chipotle pasta with sausage and peppers

1 lb penne pasta cooked
½ cup olive oil mayo
1 small can chipotle peppers – blended in a food processor or blender
1 can sliced black olives
1 red pepper sliced thinly
Cubed pepper jack cheese ( about 1 cup) 
1 lb sliced kielbasa sausage 
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl stir together the olive oil and chipotle paste. In another large bowl toss together the other ingredients, pour dressing over the top and mix lightly. Chill thoroughly.

Chili lime shrimp salad

1 lb cleaned  shrimp, cooked 
For the dressing 
4 T olive oil, 1 t lime juice, ½ t red pepper flakes, ½/ t chili powder, 1 T each chopped garlic & cilantro.
1 bag of spring mix salad
1 chopped avacado
½ cup  pico de gallo
¼ cup each  - diced red, yellow and green bell peppers, shredded cheddar cheese and corn. 
Make the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients together and then toss the other ingredients in a large bowl and dress before serving.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)
Orphan Train by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2014
Molly is a troubled teenage girl, a foster child who has been moved from one unsuitable home to another for most of her young life. 

Vivian is a wealthy but lonely 91-year-old widow, who lives in a Victorian mansion on the Maine seashore with an attic full of memories. 

But it turns out that Vivian’s history has much in common with Molly’s present-day experiences. When Molly is enlisted to assist Vivian to sort through and organize the belongings in her attic as part of a required community service, the stories of Vivian’s past tumble forth. And an unlikely friendship begins.

The story of Vivian’s early life reveals a connection that is healing in unexpected ways for both women. And in the process we learn much about a historical effort to populate the Mid Western United States with young, unwanted orphans from the East who were delivered to foster home situations that often involved hard labor and abuse.

In this beautifully composed novel, two parallel tales of personal suffering and resilience mesh and amplify the emotional complexities involved in foster care, even today. Vivian’s life story moves from poverty in Ireland to life in a New York tenement to her experience as an orphan exported on one of many orphan trains to Minnesota after the rest of her family dies in a tragic fire. Molly’s tale is present day but mirrors many of the same emotional themes – loneliness, abuse and mistreatment though a series of unsuccessful foster placements.

The orphan train saga tells of misguided early 1900’s “social engineering” attempts to find homes for abandoned children while also providing cheap labor on the frontier. However, quite often these “throw-away” children were exposed to horrifying and degrading treatment at the hands of the barely screened recipients. Vivian was a fortunate survivor but before finding a home with a decent, loving family she had to survive multiple situations involving forced labor, mistreatment and sexual abuse.

The author makes both Molly and Vivian’s stories believable without sensationalizing the neglect and adversities. At the same time, she enlightens with the broader social context. This well-written novel and the issues it raises make Orphan Train an outstanding book club choice and an enjoyable reading selection for those who enjoy literary and historical fiction.

(Christina Baker Kline was born in England and raised in Maine. She is the author of six novels, including The Way Life Should Be and Orphan Train. She lives outside of New York City, and spends as much time as possible in Northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine.)
A Hot Time in Texas by Ned Hickson on 06/01/2014
Later this summer I will be visiting Texas. More than likely, I’ll be wearing a cowboy hat, wandering in and out of shops, and carrying on with the kind of loopy, carefree attitude one expects from someone suffering a heat stroke. Six of the hottest cities in the U.S. are located in Texas, which is why, on an average day, an estimated 15,000 armadillos attempt suicide on Texas highways — in many cases, by strapping old Dixie Chicks CDs to their backs in order to increase their chances of being run over.

I actually lived in Texas for six years. I am familiar with its August atmosphere. Which is why I have been preparing myself by breathing directly from the end of a hair drier each night for the last six weeks. I can now last a solid 15 minutes on “high heat” which, during an average day, is longer than most Texans spend breathing air that isn’t being piped through some type of cooling system. In fact, the majority of hustle and bustle in downtown Dallas isn’t caused by a steady exchange of commerce interacting to sustain a thriving economic base. No. It’s actually made up of people frantically hurrying from one air conditioned building to another, trying to avoid prolonged exposure to the sidewalks, which could potentially melt the soles of their Justin ropers, and reduce their $800 ostrich skin boots to a pair of decorative shin guards.

So, knowing all this, why am I going to Texas? For the same reason many of us find ourselves doing things we wouldn’t normally do, at least not without liberal amounts of beer or the promise of buried treasure (Or, as is often the case, both): I’m talking, of course, about friends.

Dallas and Waco, two of the six hottest cities in the U.S., are home to long-time friends, all of whom have been asking me to visit since the 90s. And by that I mean the last time it got below 100 degrees. You see, we coastal Oregonians put on flip-flops and tank tops once the temperature reaches 65 degrees. At 75 degrees, we instinctively move to a shaded area and remain there, in a fetal position, until help arrives. Several years ago it actually reached 85 along the Oregon coast. As expected, people panicked and dozens were treated — mostly for frostbite — after climbing inside the freezer displays at local supermarkets. To this day, I still can’t reach for a frozen Popsicle without the image of Bill and his...

Well, never mind.

All that matters is that he is now happily married to Annette, who proposed right there in the freezer aisle.

Yesterday, my friend called from Dallas to confirm my arrival date, run through a list of things we could do during my visit and, most importantly, let me know it was 104 degrees — which, after factoring in the heat index, meant he needed to hang up because his pool was boiling over. Like most Texans, he met this crisis with the concerned demeanor of someone reading the ingredients on a bag of flour. My theory is that heat is the main reason for the distinctively slow Texas drawl; when it’s that hot, even your mouth is too tired to do anything but look for shade.

That isn’t to say I’m not looking forward to this trip. In the end, no matter how hot it is, paying a visit to my friends in Texas is long overdue. The trick, of course, will be making it back before I’m overdone.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Max Malone
But Don't Call Me Maxie by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2014
Reno is pretty easy to figure out. Casinos rule. They overshadow all other enterprises – the one exception being pawn shops. Think praying mantis. They have a certain allure, a gaudy presence, but they are deadly. They offer cheap food, making legitimate restaurants go belly-up in a hurry, or drive their proprietors into devious forms of making money. Every casino employee is trying to get out of town. Graduating to Las Vegas is the dream of every pit boss and Keno runner. This provides fertile ground for two-bit gangsters. Consequently, despite its rag-tag role in the gambling world of Nevada, the underbelly thrives. The Grimaldi brothers, Bruno and Rocco, are examples. 

Valerie Suppine, the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States, stood trial for the murder of her husband, Frankie Romero – a crooner of little note but a chap who deserved better if for no other reason he endured a five-year marriage with Val. They give war medals for less.

Val was acquitted. She told me the Grimaldi brothers did the dirty deed on Frankie, and the reason I was summoned to Reno was not to “just bail her out of jail” on a trumped up drug charge.
“I want you to stick it to those two-bit bums, Maxie,” Val hissed as I drove off casino row down a Reno side street – all at the direction of Val as she bounced around on the passenger seat of my suburban like an over-caffeinated kangaroo. “Pull over here and wait.”

So I sat in a loading zone while Val sashayed half a block and disappeared into the Greyhound bus depot. I pondered my fate. Suddenly, I longed for my Portland office and the knowing eye of Francoise, my secretary. I wished for my mountain cabin, Sinatra filling the air, sipping a shot of cheap bourbon in a dirty glass with my good neighbor Sam. At least I had a new fedora – a concession Val made on the way to the bus depot – and if I do say so myself, it sat smartly on my head and made me feel unholy again.

Call me enshrined in a shiny chapeau.

Val didn’t take long. The only thing missing on her face when she swung into the Suburban was the canary feathers at the corner of her mouth.

“Gun it,” she blurted.
“Where to,” I pleaded.
“That way,” she pointed.

Under Val’s direction I wound my way out of the city along a high desert road, passed a herd of wild mustangs, climbed a sage-brush dotted hill, and was ordered to stop. Val looked around – at what, I have no clue – and dug into her purse removing a wad of hundred dollar bills. She peeled off five and handed them to me.
“There. That’s for my bail.”

“And where’s the thank you?” I asked, able to flash my best smirk due mainly to the aspect of my new fedora casting an enigmatic shadow across my steely visage.

All I got was a raised eyebrow, which for Val would have to suffice. She counted through another wad of hundreds. “Here. That’s two G’s. You’re hired, Maxie.”

Two thousand dollars is a lot of money at my mountain cabin. Two thousand dollars can keep Francoise out of my hair for a few days in Portland. Two thousand dollars in Reno is twenty unfortunate minutes at a craps table. But two thousand dollars to work for Val didn’t even qualify as a retainer.

“To do what, exactly, Val? And it’s not Maxie.”

“Ohhh, there now,” she almost purred, patting my leg. “Don’t get your shoulder holster in a knot. Just listen.” Her demeanor went sour again. “I didn’t kill my Frankie. Bruno and Rocco botched a torture routine on him and off’d him accidentally, thinking he had stole two-hundred fifty G’s from them. Don’t ask,” she raised her hand to hush me. “I know this. They got me framed and did a piss-poor job of it, but enough to get me to trial.”

“But if I remember right, your problem was you didn’t have an alibi.”

“Oh, I had one. I just couldn’t use it. See, Maxie, that night I was with Sammy Calloway.”

“The casino owner?” I was letting the Maxie bit slide. The story was beginning to  intrigue me.
“Is there another Sammy Calloway? Yes. He couldn’t afford to alibi me. You know, he’s got six kids, a wife from hell with the freedom of no pre-nup, and a solid reputation with every cop and congressman in Nevada.”

“So he owes you.”

“No, Maxie. He owes me nothing. He fixed the jury.”

I scratched my head, watching the mustangs kicking up a cloud of dust in the distance.

“Before you get too confused, Maxie, here’s what I’m hiring you to do. You need to get the Grimaldis off my case. They planted the drugs to get my attention. They think I’ve got their money.”

I was almost afraid to ask, but I threw caution to the wind like a latter-day Rhett Butler. “And do you?” I ventured with a Clark Gable grin.

Call me a Margaret Mitchell maven.

“Not all of it. I just gave some of it to you, honey.”

Dripping with Valerie Suppine “honey” didn’t make me feel sweet – more like trapped in a hive of berserk bees.

She did nothing to change my situation as she went on. “I want you to put the arm on those two-bit thugs. They need to know I’m connected. And who better to do exactly that than my dear old Maxie?” Quickly the syrup dripped onto the floor. “Sides. You still owe me.”

The mustangs had disappeared, leaving a landscape of sage, mesquite and desolation. She was right. I owed her. That damned, unfortunate memory of the caper with the drowned waiter in Sausalito drifted through the front seats of the Suburban. But that’s another story. This is now.

I could choose walking away from Val, leaving her to the vagaries of her tangled life, and suffering the consequences. Or I could turn my attention to the Grimaldi brothers. I pushed the bill of my fedora high on my forehead, under the knowing gaze of Val.

“That’s my Maxie,” she blurted, digging her elbow into my rib cage.

After all, I am Max, don’t call me Maxie, Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
El Nino Promises a Hot Summer by Herb Miller on 06/01/2014
After getting off to a summer-like start, the next 10 days of May were more like March with cool temperatures and rainfall a daily event – except for May 7.

After that, temperatures not only moderated but returned to summer levels during the 13th to 15th, with rainfall dropping off dramatically leading to concerns about the coming fire season, especially in light of the extended forecast expecting a return to El Nino conditions.

Temperatures at both Brightwood and Government Camp averaged well above normal and precipitation was close to average – but only because the first 10 days were so wet.

The National Weather Service is 65 percent confident that El Nino conditions will prevail during at least the June-July-August period and probably extend beyond. The June outlook for our area calls for above average temperatures and precipitation about normal.

During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 4.33 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 100 during two years, into the 90s one year, into the 80s during six years, and one year couldn’t get above the 70s. The odds are 5 out of 6 that a high of at least 90 will occur at least once during June. Low temperatures dropped into the 30s during four years and into the 40s the remaining six. Precipitation has ranged from a record high of 11.90 inches in 1981 to a low of .86 inches in 1987.

During June, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 41, and a precipitation average of 3.88 inches – including an average .6 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during four years, into the 70s during five years, and into the 60s once. Low temperatures fell into the 30s during nine years with the exception being one year recording a low of 29.  Lows reached the freezing mark during five years. Precipitation ranged from a record high 9.09 inches in 1981 to a record low of .70 inches in 1965. The record snowfall for June was 11 inches set in 1995, which includes a 6-inch total measured June 5, 1995.
Fatigued? Let's Detox by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2014
In my March column I wrote about assessing your need for detox. Are you generally a cold or a hot person? Are you dry or moist (G.I. tract, hair, skin)? Do you get sick often? Are you always fatigued? The answers to the above questions will help  you determine the level of detoxification you personally need.

But the fact is, we all need to clean up our bodies periodically. How many of the following factors affect you? Do you regularly consume white flour, sugar, pasta? What about chemicals, colorings, or preservatives in overly processed foods? Do you eat out often, be it fast food or sit-down restaurants? Do you live near high tension power lines, polluted air or water, or use your cellphone, computer, or i-Pads more than half of every day? Do you use prescribed or recreational drugs or alcohol, or anti-biotics frequently? Do you have a high stress job, relationship, or other stressful situations in your life?

The fact is, try as we might, we are all exposed to toxins in our daily lives, no matter how many of the aforementioned answers apply to you. Rachel Carson wrote the book “Silent Spring,” the classic expose on the damage DDT was doing to our health and the health of our soil in the 1960s. DDT was banned in the U.S. (but not necessarily in other countries) in 1972. Recent testing of human blood in persons of any age found DDT still present in the blood of 100 percent of those tested! That probably means you and me and our kids and our grandkids and eventually their grandkids.

The good news is that your G.I. system can renew cells in just five days. The liver makes new cells in one month, skin in six weeks, bones in one year. In five years you could be a 100 percent new person. Which is why there is hope for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What we need to make new cells is water, oxygen, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. We need the following to make stomach acid: B vitamins, Zinc, Iodine, some salt, some water, pre and post biotics, and good food grown in good soil.

Emphasizing the need for water as most metabolic processes cannot take place unless in the presence of water.

The stomach is the interface between the inner and the outer world. What goes into your G.I. tract is what gets used to make those new cells. Oddly, about 30 percent of Americans think they eat better than they actually do. When reporting the previous week’s meals we Naturopaths often hear “salads, chicken, not much alcohol or fast food.” Follow up studies, looking through their garbage, reveals what they actually consumed. Present in large degree were pizza boxes, fast food containers, wine bottles, and no vegetable wastes! Those most inaccurate in their reporting were the overweight and elders.

If your want to decrease symptoms of rashes, joint pain, weight gain, irregular bowels, and brain fog, it’s time to change your food intake. You need a detox! Start by removing obvious offending foods such as sodas, anything labelled “diet” (they don’t work longterm and make you gain weight), most store-bought canned foods, fast food, and anything made with GMO ingredients (which includes most processed foods).

Continue the detox process by increasing nuts (no, they don’t make you fat), the dark leafies (not just spinach, but Bok Choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc), foods that are specific for detoxification (asparagus, mushrooms, beets), and the good fats like avocado and the oils you kept from your March kitchen clean-out (olive, coconut, peanut, and untoasted sesame). Just generally decrease meat and increase fish to three times a week. Patients report eating fish three time a week, but when they turn in a week long food diary I notice there is no fish. Have Greek yogurt and green tea three to seven times a week.

 Rev up your metabolism with hot peppers if you tolerate them, a 15-minute walk outside without sunscreen (use only if in the sun for longer times), and more water. Increase foods such as garlic and onions (boosts immune function), celery (decreases hypertension and prevents plaque build-up in the brain that leads to Alzheimers).

 While I know this is harder to actually do than talk about or read about, you can start feeling better within days. You don’t have to be perfect, just continue to do your best. And if you need encouragement, help, brand name advice, or even recipes, just make a half hour appointment to find out more options.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

Loaves and Fishes by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2014
Fruity and fragrant and as fresh as you can get it. Go getcha some olive oil, don’t forget to rub some on your skin for a gorgeous glow!

Olive oil & fig focaccia 
Ingredients: 
1½ cups warm water 
1 T cane sugar
3 T olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1¼ sea salt
1 t fresh chopped rosemary 
Corn meal for dusting
3½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 T instant yeast
½ cup dried chopped figs
Heat oven to 375
In a large bowl or a bowl of a mixer mix warm water, yeast and sugar. Mix until dissolved. Mix in flour one cup at a time until dough is blended. Sprinkle olive oil on dough, cover and let rest in a warm, breeze free area until doubled in size ( about 2 hours). Sprinkle the board with cornmeal and  roll dough out to a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Push indents into dough with your fingers and sprinkle with chopped figs, sea salt and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 until top is golden.

Olive oil braised fish 
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon sliced
1 T whole peppercorns
2 sprigs rosemary
2 t sea salt
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 lb white fish such as cod or halibut
¼ cup flour for dusting fish
Heat olive oil with lemon, salt, peppercorns and rosemary in a cast iron skillet until aromatics are sizzling. Dredge fish in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, add to skillet and braise on med low about 20 mins or until the fish is done. Scoop out fish and serve with the aromatics from the pan.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

Seattle Author Scores Again by Sandra Palmer on 05/01/2014
I don’t usually read shoot-’em-up’s but I love everything that Michael Gruber has written and “The Return” has all of the ingredients I appreciate in this Seattle author’s novels – lush settings, thoughtful issues, fascinating characters and ethical dilemmas. 

In “The Return”, Rick Marder, a well established book editor in New York City receives a death sentence diagnosis and decides to leave his life behind –  facing death and the ghosts of his past and his marriage on his own terms by returning to Mexico where he met his late wife. 

Cashing in his savings and heading out alone, from the start his plan does not go as he expected. His close friend ever since his service in Vietnam, Skelly, hitches a ride and inserts himself into Marder’s plans, worried and intrigued by Marder’s unusual behavior. Soon Marder’s daughter also tracks him down and all three become embroiled in Mexico’s drug trafficking wars in an attempt to hold off the local cartels who want to control the island and bay of the property Marder has just purchased.

Soon Marder is planning large-scale military tactics just to protect his land, his friends and family as well as those who depend on his new estate instead of simply planning his own demise. 

And when I say large-scale military tactics, I mean just that as Skelly contributes his military expertise and international gun running connections to arm the property to the hilt. Events often prompt Marder to recall events during the Vietnam War that forged his friendship with Skelly under fire as their company sought to obliterate the Ho Chi Minh Trail so many years before. Gruber skillfully uses these flash backs to reveal Marder’s inner life and spirituality.

Gruber writes a smart novel – great prose, exciting action and skillful plotting. The novel is truly a pleasure to read and keeps your interest, non-stop. 

The many plot threads and unanticipated twists and turns sometimes require a bit of suspension of disbelief but the ride is great fun. But if this book doesn’t sound like your style, pick up “The Book of Air and Shadows” or “The Good Son.” Amazing reading. You won’t be disappointed if you take the time to get to know this author and allow yourself to be transported to the many locations and fascinating circumstances within his portfolio.

(New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber is the author of five acclaimed novels including “The Book of Air and Shadows,” “The Good Son,” and “Valley of Bones.” He lives in Seattle.)

Motherly Insights Include How to Control Children with Jalapeno by Ned Hickson on 05/01/2014
This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our youngest daughter’s many pre-pubescent mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young. 

This hasn’t been easy. 

As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life.
 
As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is – or has the potential of becoming – a cheese-like substance.

My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really means, are two completely different things.

As I understand it, this is the first step to becoming a woman.

Being a man, I am no stranger to this concept. 

However, I was in denial when it came to my daughter. Mostly because I didn’t want to admit that she is growing up; that time is slipping away. And that, in just a couple of years, my wife and daughter will probably be sharing the same PMS cycle.

Though I kept this realization to myself, it was clear that my wife’s insightfulness is something that only comes with motherhood. It’s a bond that starts during that first nine months, when mother and child reach a special understanding that if baby doesn’t stop using mommy’s bladder for step aerobics, mommy will eat a raw jalapeno. In this way, even before birth, a child learns Mom will endure physical or emotional discomfort if it means providing a valuable life lesson. Because that’s what Moms do best. 

Endure. 

If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Breast Pump. 
True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough for a child to be respectful. 

If you’re in doubt, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the ON button, and keep it there until a) your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal, or b) someone calls the police.

And calling the police yourself doesn’t count.

You will quickly realize just one of the many things a mother endures for the sake of her child’s well-being, and why, if it were up to fathers to provide breast milk to the human species, we’d all be nursed by monkeys.

So this year, I plan to do something special for my wife; something to let her know how much I appreciate all that she does as a mother.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The fact is, I haven’t been able to think straight since that whole car vacuum incident. 
In hindsight, I never would have taken my shirt off if I knew my wife had that many quarters.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, “Humor at the Speed of Life,” is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com.)

Max Malone
Val and the Looming Grimaldi Bro's by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/01/2014
I threaded my Suburban along the ribbon of the Truckee River to the soaring, scatting rhythm of Ella Fitzgerald on the CD player. But as inspiring as Ella was, it couldn’t erase the dread that haunted me: another confrontation with Valerie Suppine.

I had no idea why she was ensconced in a Reno jail, and the thought that it couldn’t be all that bad due to the meager $5,000 bail required to spring her was little solace. Nothing was ever as simple as it seemed when it came to Val, the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States.

Was it the crazy time we had more than a decade ago in Sausalito when, among other things, she extricated me from a caper I was working on about a local waiter who drowned at the dock wrapped in the anchor line of his dilapidated sailboat? Or was it that several years later, after she had married Frankie Romero, the somewhat less-than-talented, but greasily handsome nightclub singer, and was tried for his murder, later acquitted, in the most celebrated crime-trial scene in Reno since the murder of a Nevada congressman by his Mustang Ranch paramour – who, oddly, was also acquitted?

Or, more simply, was it just Val, the gal who could go toe-to-toe with any man, and find a way, not only into his heart, but in the doing, also snatch his soul and play with it like a hoary housecat hell-bent on torturing a mindless mouse whose only mistake was wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time because of its inability to resist the smell of cheese – that, coincidentally, had been spread around by a cat with a feline-version of Val’s dangerous and always deliberate and well-calculated abilities?

Actually, it was all of the above.

Call me a sucker for multiple choices.

A quick stop at the bail bondsman with my $500 cashier’s check and a flash of my private eye credentials, and I was off to the Reno jail – a crumbling red brick edifice out of the Old West that could have housed the likes of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Sundance, and for all I know, Hoss and Little Joe.

It would have surprised an ordinary man how quickly the bail transaction went – but there were no ordinary men in Val’s life. That included the Reno Jail desk sergeant who was plagued by an overwhelming wart on his nose and a girth that served testimony to his obvious weakness for pasta with extra parmesan, but was extremely cooperative in getting the Val maelstrom out of his jail.

Val stormed down the hall, glared impatiently at the turnkey at the last set of bars – who could have been a stand-in for Barney Fife – and she brushed past him with the insolence of Joan Crawford after a desperate pass thrown her way by a hopeful, out-of-his-league, Broderick Crawford.

Call me an old apologist for Highway Patrol.

“It’s about damned time,” Val spat in my direction, grabbing my arm like a bouncer in a cheeky Chicago night club. “It was great gettin’ to know ya,” she tossed over her shoulder in the general direction of the wart.

I picked up my step to keep up and swung open the door to the Suburban. “Let’s go,” she snapped as she flew into the seat. As we backed out of the Reno Jail it was obvious that Val’s situation had not necessarily improved. She was still as ticked off as an 8-day clock.

“I’m hungry. I don’t take to Wonderbread and beans. I need food. Maxie.”

“The name’s Max,” I objected.

“To set the record straight, it’s Maxmillian,” she said through a smile that could have slid under a bank vault door.

Round One to Val.

I pulled into the first casino, knowing, somehow, it was a bad choice. The “cluck” that issued from Val was a clue.

“What? You’re taking me to Circus-Circus to eat?” she reprimanded. “Do I look like I want a moldy cheese pizza in a restaurant full of creepy kids with their goofy parents from Fresno?”

“Of course not,” I lied. “I was just turning around. Where would you like to go, Val?”

“The other end of town. Take me to the Peppermill.”

I enjoyed a stroll through the ample buffet spread at the classy – at least for Reno – Peppermill, watching Val scoop up more shrimp than a Gorton’s fisherman. With half of her second helping having disappeared, I ventured a toe into the murky waters of “So why were you in jail?”

“I got some drugs planted on me,” she said through a mouthful of seafood delight.

I believed her. Val was a lot of things: impossible, impolite, impudent, impertinent, but she was not a druggie.

“Do you know who did it?” 

“Of course I do.” And after another shrimp or three, “Bruno and Rocco.”

“Who?”

“The Grimaldi brothers.” She stared deep into my eyes, grabbing them like an acquisitive anteater. “They’re the two-bit Italian wise guys who murdered Frankie and made me take the fall.”

In my business there are obvious storm warnings. The worst is when you’re told about a caper and there’s more unsaid than said. The cumulus clouds were at full mast.

We finished eating and I asked Val where the nearest hat shop was.

“Why?”

“I need a new fedora.” 

After all, I am, at the moment, hatless Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Dry and Warm as El Nino Forms by Herb Miller on 05/01/2014
The first week of April got off to a cool, wet start, but the following two weeks had more seasonal temperatures, although drier than average.

Starting the last week, cool and wet weather made a comeback, bringing snow at times, especially to the higher elevations of the mountain.

Speaking of snow, Brightwood recorded a 2-inch depth on April 13, compared to a record 3-inch total set during three earlier years.

But there hasn’t been enough snowfall in Government Camp this month to continue the ski season. 
The extended weather outlook for this summer expects sunny and warmer than average conditions, so perhaps Skibowl will benefit with increased activity later on. 
During April, temperatures averaged fairly close to normal and also precipitation.

The National Weather Service reports several recent observations support a conclusion that an El Nino condition is in the making, and will likely be in place this coming summer. As most of you know, this means drier than average conditions for our area. This coming May is expected to be a bit warmer and drier than average for our area.

During May, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 5.95 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s during three years, into the 80s four years and into the 70s during the remaining three years. There’s a 94 percent chance for a freezing temperature in May, and only one year in the past 10 had a low above the 30s. The record snowfall of 2 inches was measured only four years ago on May 5, 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 53 degrees, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 5.24 inches – including 6.7 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached the 80s during three years, into the 70s in four years, and into the 60s twice, and only one year couldn’t get above the 50s. Low temperatures fell to freezing without exception during the past 10 years, with eight years reaching the 20s and the other two settling for 32 degrees. Latest freezing date averages June 7, the record latest date was July 8, 1981, and the record earliest was May 5, 1969. The record high snowfall for the month of May was set in 1974 with a measurement of 32 inches.
A 'Master' Heats Up the Waffle Iron by Geoff Berteau on 05/01/2014
New in Sandy is Bethy’s Waffle Wagon, serving up both sweet and savory waffles straight out of the Wagon.

And owner/chef Bethy Rossos isn’t waffling around. Her menu already includes selections like the “Berry NW” which has “berry compote with mixed whole berries, whipped cream, and topped with a chocolate drizzle” or the “Hollywood” which has “fresh tomatoes, avocados, crispy bacon, egg and a spicy cheese sauce.”

“I have always had a desire to own a restaurant one day but never loved the idea of being married to the restaurant,” Rossos said. “I’m kind of getting the best of both worlds because I still get to continue to have fun on TV, give cooking lessons and classes, do private chef events, cater, and cook for the men’s bible study breakfast every week at my church.”

The eats are scrumptious, but it’s the Oregon-born “Bethy” herself that seems to be attracting the crowds every Wednesday and Thursday to hang a fang on her gourmet waffles.

Rossos likes to keep a full plate having been featured on national television in a number of reality shows. After winning “Wanted: Adventure Woman,” she hosted her own show “Adrenaline Hunter,” before appearing on “MasterChef.” In addition to the Wagon and television, she’s also a coach, P.E. teacher, and caterer.

“On Adrenaline Hunter I did everything from race-car driving, roller derby, professional women’s football, jumping out of planes, and lots of bow hunting,” Rossos said.

But those challenges weren’t much for Rossos compared to what came next. After Wanted: Adventure Woman and Adrenaline Hunter, Rossos made her way through the auditions to be on MasterChef.

“In all, I was down filming in LA for about two months, going home at number nine,” Rossos said. “TV was not new to me but what took a toll on me was being in the city, enclosed in a small room, for way too many hours to my liking. All in all it was a crazy fun experience.”

For Rossos, it seems, it’s a lack of adventure that takes a toll on her. And it looks like this Waffle Wagon is just her newest adventure. 

Rossos does all the cooking herself at her Waffle Wagon. The menu also features flat bread and hummus – almost certainly a nod to her Greek heritage.

Bethy’s Waffle Wagon is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Wagon is located at 39345 Pioneer Blvd, at downtown Centennial Plaza.
Brunch: Two Meals Plus Dessert by Taeler Butel on 04/02/2014
Quiche with leeks and prosciutto 
(Don’t forget you can use all sorts of fridge items like leftover sausage and onions, spinach and mushrooms – whatever you have. 
(I think quiche is French for leftover egg pie.)

1 pie crust fresh or frozen
8 large eggs
1 bag frozen chopped leaks
1 6 oz package prosciutto 
½ cup gruyere or parmesan cheese grated plus about ¼ cup to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup half and half or whole milk
Olive oil for the pan 
Unroll the pie crust & prick all over with a fork. Heat the oven to 350. In a med sized pan heat the olive oil over med high heat, add the sliced leaks and chopped prosciutto and sauté until leaks are tender and prosciutto has crisped then take off heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the half and half, ½ t each salt and pepper and the cheese. Mix in the leak mixture and pour into pie crust. 
Top with remaining cheese and cook for about 45 minutes or until center just barely wiggles. 

Blueberry lemon mimosas
Pinch sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 bottle dry sparkling wine or champagne
Lemonade 
If using a pitcher mash the blueberries in with a little sugar roughly to get the juices going reserving a few for garnish. Add 2 cups lemonade and pour in the champagne and blueberries. Mix and serve immediately.
To prepare individually just put about ¼ cup of the blueberry mash on the bottom of each cup, pour the glass ½ full with lemonade and top with champagne or sparkling white wine.

Strawberry cream cheese bread
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs beaten
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t Kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
1½ cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, sliced.
Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add sour cream and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
Fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Inside Salem, Short Session Wrap by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/02/2014
The Legislature passed the Sine Die resolution on Friday, March 7 officially closing the 2014 February session. 

This short session was a far cry from how it was sold to voters as being necessary for budget rebalancing and sound policy ideas. Instead what occurred was a non-inclusive process crippling not only bipartisan efforts for compromises, but also more importantly, the ability for public participation.  

The comparisons between this session and the last February session, when the House had an even 30-30 split and co-governance, were striking.

A clear example of this was HB 4054. This bill attempted to rewrite the ballot title to more accurately reflect the language of SB 833 so voters in November would have a better understanding of what they cast an opinion on.
 
I voted against HB 4054 because I was disappointed in the process that House leadership chose to bring the issue before the Legislature. Rather than allowing for an open, inclusive, and public process that would provide an opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard, Democratic leadership opted for a “behind closed door” approach. This legislation only came out of the shadows near the end of the session and was rushed to the House floor for a vote. 

I support the referendum process and do not advocate for the usurping of the people’s will as it is expressed at the ballot box. 
 
My goal as a legislator is to represent my constituents and I will respect how they vote on the November ballot for the drivers card measure.

One of the bills I drafted, HB 4076, is another example of how sound policy can end up on the cutting room floor for strictly political reasons. The purpose of this bill was to support the technical and regional campuses in their development of innovative, low-cost pathways for bachelor’s degrees. This bill had the support in the academic community, passed out of the Higher Education Committee with unanimous support, but died in the Ways and Means Committee while other bills with higher costs associated with the policy passed out.
 
This is especially unfortunate as our regional universities support local workforce needs and help increase access and affordability in our communities.

The results from my 2014 legislative survey expressed concerns about an Oregon-only Columbia River Crossing project and additional legislation for expanding background checks of gun purchases. 

Fortunately, legislation for the continuation of the Columbia River Crossing project and an Oregon-led effort of building a new bridge failed to pass. 

This is good news for House District 52, as there would have been significant traffic and financial burdens placed on our Clackamas County communities. So far the state has spent nearly $200 million on this project with nothing tangible to show for it. It was time to pull the plug.  

In addition, no further background check legislation passed out of the Senate committee and no bill was brought to the floor of either chamber for a vote. I continue to be supportive of expanding mental health services to identify potentially violent behaviors before they occur. 

The survey data reflected a mixed view regarding the legalization of marijuana. While the issue of legalization did not advance out of committee, action was taken on the ability for cities and counties to have local control to regulate the medical marijuana dispensaries. 

I consulted with numerous county and law enforcement officials around my district on this topic and they all asked for the maximum amount of local control possible. I supported the version of SB 1531 that would have allowed cities and counties to regulate marijuana dispensaries and the marketing of products with no strings attached. 

In the end House leadership only allowed a watered version to be voted on. The end result of this discussion was for local control to be granted for only one year. This means the whole issue will have to be revisited again in the near future. 

I want to thank you all for not only responding to the survey, but also emailing and calling throughout the session to voice your opinions. It’s an honor to serve you and I’m excited to begin my campaign for a third term in the House.

Please be sure to stay in touch and follow my website: www.RepMarkJohnson.com. Here you can discuss issues that are important to you, and stay informed on the local issues I’m fighting for.
Technology, Cults and Codes by Sandra Palmer on 04/02/2014
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore covers a lot of territory – exploding modern technology, the strange attraction of cults, ancient codes and the lasting value of books. But, most of all, it has an appealing narrator who makes the trip for the reader great, rollicking fun.

Clay Jannon, our narrator and protagonist, takes a position covering the graveyard shift at a quirky 24-hour bookstore owned by the very quirky and mysterious Mr. Penumbra. The store soon seems even more mysterious to Clay as he can’t help but notice the very small amount of business actually transacted around the clock and the group of unusual customers who come in regularly simply to exchange books from a mysterious collection Clay refers to as the “Wayback List” – shelves that cover most of the store proper with many shelves up the very high ceilings with the top shelves only accessible by ladders. 

Although Clay has been instructed never to look inside those books, eventually – of course – his curiosity wins out and he discovers that all of these many volumes are written in code. Naturally, Clay can’t help but want to break the code and solve the mystery which would explain the unusual goings-on in the bookstore. This he sets out to do with the help of an interesting collection of friends and allies – his roommate Mat, a gifted special effects artist; his best friend, a successful software designer specializing in “boobs”; and his romantic interest Kat who works for Google.

Eventually, Clay manages to solve the puzzle with a combination of perseverance, creativity and luck. But not before the adventure takes him inside Google, a high-tech storage facility for lost and abandoned items and the headquarters of the “Unbroken Spine” in New York City – a secret society with an elaborate underground cache of code books in a strange underground Reading Room for Members Only.

Early in the book the reader must decide to suspend reality and just enjoy the ride. Clay’s amusing observations and comical descriptions are a delight and every problem somehow has an easy (but a bit far-out) solution. Suspending disbelief is worth it, however, as “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is great fun. With all the contemporary technical references to current day technology – Google, Wikipedia, blogs, smartphones, etc. – I’m unsure how this book will feel to future readers as our current technology ages and new high-tech gadgets and internet trends take over. But for now, why worry? Just enjoy the ride!

Robin Sloan is a self-proclaimed media inventor and writer living in San Francisco. He grew up near Detroit and went to school at Michigan State, where he studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine. Since then, he’s worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter, figuring out the future of media.
Tax Terminology Explained (sort of) by Ned Hickson on 04/02/2014
After clearing off the kitchen table and finding an outlet for the calculator, I sat down to do my taxes. As always, I made sure to have all the necessary documentation and forms — W4s, tax forms, bank statements, insurance reports, tax schedules and, most importantly, a full box of Kleenex.

As I sat staring at this year’s tax booklet, I noticed a special section of “Tax Terms,” which is an alphabetical listing of terms one may encounter during the tax preparation process. Each term is followed by a brief description meant to enlighten the truth-seeking taxpayer through “real-life” examples. 

For instance, the IRS uses “Jane” and “John” to illustrate the term “Ability to Pay.” In this scenario, Jane is filthy rich, with homes on both coasts that she visits by way of her own Lear jet.

By comparison, John earns what the IRS calls a “more modest salary,” which affords him a flashlight and a camper shell to live in.

The only thing these two have in common is the oil industry: Jane is an executive in it, and John had his SUV re-possessed. According to the booklet, due to their income disparity, “John and Jane do NOT pay the same amount of taxes, because their ability to pay differs vastly.”

This brings us to a term not included in the handbook:  “Highly-paid tax lawyer.”
In this example, Jane is able to filter her $1.6 million earnings through a maze of tax shelters and special credits before wiring an undisclosed amount into a Swiss bank account, leaving her with a taxable income of: $6.28.

John, who files his return on the 1040 EZ form, is entitled to a refund that, coincidently, adds up to exactly...$6.28!

See? “Jane” PAYS and “John” gets a tax CREDIT!

All together, there are 65 terms listed in the handbook, many of which seem self-explanatory until you read them closely. With the tax deadline just a few weeks away, I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing some of the more complex terms that you may encounter before now and tax day.

1040EZ: 
1.) Simplest tax form offered by the IRS.
2.) A wealthy, white rapper.

Gross Income: The dollar amount that appears in the box after “federal income tax withheld.”

Adjusted Really Gross Income: The amount left over after completing your taxes.

Tax Shift: According to the handbook, this is:
a) “When one person or group is able to shift a tax they are supposed to pay to someone else.” 
A Tax Shift can also be:
b) What the average taxpayer does in their seat after determining his/her adjusted gross income.

Dependent: A child, parent, spouse or household pet with a human-sounding name, such as “Fred” or “Sally,” whom the creative taxpayer can claim on his/her income taxes.

Estate Tax: The amount of tax on a deceased individual’s estate that has been passed on to surviving family members. Short explanation: Something my children will never have to worry about.

Flat Tax: (Hollywood, Calif., residents only) A controversial levy against any woman without breast enhancements.

Electronic Preparation: Filing online

Electronic Preparation H: Used only as a last resort.

While there are plenty of other terms in the new IRS tax glossary, it’s probably a good idea to stop here.

To be honest, I’m already feeling taxed.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, “Humor at the Speed of Life,” is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com)

Max Malone
Reno, and a Gal Named Val by Max Malone, Private Eye on 04/02/2014
A NEW ADVENTURE BEGINS, Episode I

A few months slipped away and I tagged along. Katrina swept into my Portland apartment like a whispering Jamaican wind. But feminine convection currents ensued and my apartment was awash in a hurricane of house cleaning. 

I can’t even find the remote.

The Maggie McGee murder mystery bumped along like an ox-drawn cart on a country road in Croatia. In fact, when the sheriff’s detectives Chase and Sanborne took over the case, it ground to a complete halt. Fortunately, the newsy Nigel Best kept pushing the story and the wheels of justice gained traction. Hope was arrested and indicted for murder. The attorney Paul Greinke avoided the long arm of the law, but was so implicated in the case that his political aspirations were dashed forever on the rocky shoals of public opinion.

Abandon Hope, all ye who enter.

Call me a Dante disciple.

I was spending more time at my office, reluctant to brave the winds of change at the apartment. My secretary, Francoise, secure in the knowledge she knew too much to have her job threatened, found my remoteless home life amusing. She was smiling and raising more eyebrows in my direction than a golden retriever whose dinner had been forgotten.

I escaped the office and apartment for a three-day jaunt to the coast. I was hired by a defense attorney to post-trial interview a juror who she suspected cost her a case. The attorney, Jill Jereau, didn’t lose many cases. But on the rare instance when she did, there was always a female juror in the spotlight. I’m certain no male juror ever convicted a Jereau client. When Jereau caroused around a courtroom, the evidence was overwhelming.

The interview went well, the female juror easily tripped up and recorded, and the motel room went even better – a remote and a mess in three days. I stuck around for another week when my old friend Captain Steve Bender coaxed me onto his fishing boat and tossed me around an angry ocean until I was not only ready to surrender, I was spilling naval secrets to my captor like an overboard Benedict Arnold.

Too many days at sea, with a sad sack of snapper for payment. Captain Steve and Captain Bligh have more in common than rank.

I collapsed in my motel room like a mutinous Fletcher Christian on Pitcairn’s Island – without the comforting caresses of a Tahitian native. It took me two days to get my land legs and navigate the highway waves back to Portland. 

I spent the night in my remoteless apartment in the isobars of Hurricane Katrina, before dropping off my tape recorder to Francoise at the office.

“You look a little blue in the gills, Max,” Francoise offered, once again affirming her knowledge of my every move.

“Just transcribe the interview, Mon Petit Chou-Fleur,” I objected.
The confrontation was fortunately interrupted by the office phone. Francoise held the receiver in the air, with a triumphant pose, and buzzed the call to my desk.

Anything had to be better than this, I thought. It was a foolish notion.

On the other end of the line came the haughty voice of Valerie Suppine, who was being held in a Reno jail.

“Get me out of here, Max, now!” she snarled.

“What are you being held …” I offered before being interrupted.

“It doesn’t matter,” she bit back. “The charges are crap. The bail is $5,000. You owe me.”

“I don’t think I owe you $5,000,” I said without conviction.

“It’s only $500 with a bail bondsman. What’s wrong with you? Do I have to tell you your job as well?”
It mattered little. Val was going to tell me anyway. She was the scrappiest woman I’d ever met. If you threw her into a cage with a middle linebacker in his prime and a mother lion with two cubs, she’d go off at even money – probably at 2-to-3 with a Reno bookie if he happened to know her, and most did.

Under the comical glance of Francoise and the breathless pause from Val, I weighed my options: my secretary and Hurricane Katrina or the fierce specter of Val behind bars.

Call me trapped like a treed raccoon staring down on a pack of blue tick hounds.

I suffered the high winds of Katrina while I drove her back to the once-blessed Mountain, stopped off to have lunch at Lola’s, then wheeled the Suburban east and south to Reno – The Biggest Little City in the World – to face the Meanest Little Woman in Thirteen Western States.

The fact that I had survived the tempest of the Pacific Ocean, the cyclonic cleaning of Katrina, provided little solace on the long drive to Nevada. Bouncing along on the uncertain road surfaces of central Oregon takes a toll on a man. I even listened to Lars Larson on the radio for twenty minutes before a jackrabbit knifing across the road brought me out of my hare-brained reverie.

Valerie Suppine – the woman who had once made me seriously consider jumping out of a hot-air balloon while trapped aloft with her nibs, even though I had, admittedly, contributed to her bad mood at the time – was now ensconced in a Reno jail and was unquestionably making the guards seriously consider early retirement, and awaited my arrival with enough money to spring her which was not going to come anywhere near ending the transaction.

Reno was not my idea of a good time, and neither was going a few more rounds with Val, but …

After all, I am Max Malone, Private Eye.

Fiction by Larry Berteau/MT
Warm and Dry Weather for April by Herb Miller on 04/02/2014
March got off to a wet start with Brightwood getting soaked with more than 11 inches of rain and Government Camp getting 8.65 inches the first 10 days. More spring-like weather followed e
xcept for a wet St. Patrick’s Day that also greeted Brightwood with a 1-inch snowfall.
But the last week saw unsettled weather return, with snow making an occasional return to the Mountain but far short of what was hoped for at the start of the month.

Temperatures averaged close to normal in Brightwood, but Government Camp was about 3 degrees above average. Precipitation was well above normal.

The National Weather Service has improved the outlook for our area and expects warmer and drier weather for this coming April.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55 degrees, an average low of 37 and a precipitation average of 7.69 inches, including an average of 0.9 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, high temperatures have had seven years in the 70s, two in the 80s, and only one year couldn’t get above the 60s. Low temperatures all dropped to freezing during the past 10 years, with six years in the 20s and four in the 30s. There is an average of four days that have a low drop down to freezing during April. The record high for precipitation occurred only three years ago – in 2011 – with a total of 16.10 inches.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45 degrees, an average low of 30, and a precipitation average of 7.21 inches, including 25 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 70s during three years, into the 60s during six years, and only one year failed to make it above the 50s. Low temperatures had two years dipping down to the teens and the other eight into the 20s. On both April 1 and 2, 2008, the low temperature was 13 degrees, only 1 degree above the record set in 1969. Also, the 13-inch snowfall measured on April, 4, 2011, had approached the record of 17 inches set April 12, 1981.
So You Think You're Ready for Detox by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2014
It’s that time of year when we pray for spring, or consider lighting the wood stove for another day or two. It is the unsettled weather that tells us it is too soon to consider a detox. First we need to assess our readiness and our abilities to do so.

But it is not too soon to assess ourselves for our readiness for detoxification. And yes, we all need to do this as we are living in an increasingly toxic world. Spring is the best time for a detox because of all the fresh foods that will be available soon. Foods that not only taste good but are detoxifying in their own right (think asparagus, chives, the spring greens).

How much detoxification you need depends on your “condition.” Assess your condition by asking yourself these three questions: are you a warm person or a cold person?(coldness indicates a greater need for detox); are you a moist person (skin, digestive tract, etc.) or a dry person? (dryness indicates a greater need for balance); are you reasonably energetic or always fatigued? (fatigue indicates a toxic overload).

With the questions honestly answered you can start your detox with a “kitchen cleanse.” This used to be called spring cleaning but we’ll do it a little differently. Remove all cooking oils except olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. Fresh nut oils may be retained but they should be kept in the refrigerator. Other oils may be genetically modified (a common practice) and adulterated with omega 6 oils, which we get plenty of in our diets. While you are at it, remove as much sugar as possible. All forms except honey, real maple syrup (not imitation), and unsulphered molasses.
 Now let’s go back to the three questions you asked yourself to determine your detox needs. If you are the person who is always cold, start with mild movement. It doesn’t have to be full blown exercise, just movement. Turn off the electronic devices or at least get up during each commercial. Walk the dog. The key to long life is to keep moving.

If you are a dry person start “moistening up” inside and out. Keep track of how much water you drink with pennies or pebbles on the drainboard for those who spend most of their time at home and use a measured container if in the workplace most of the time. This information will be very important if you visit a naturapathic doctor. Use some of those kitchen oils you retained in the kitchen to moisten your skin. Do you have dry shins, arms, face, lips? After bathing, lightly cover your skin with olive, peanut, or sesame oil (not toasted) and go to bed (not using the silk sheets) and you will wake up refreshed and with better quality skin.

Are you the one who’s fatigued all the time? This is the most common reason for people to visit the doctor. Try to assess the “whys” of this one. Are you overworked? Europeans work a 36 hour workweek, often opening businesses at noon. Americans think nothing of working a 45-60 hour workweek. Are you overstressed? Read last month’s column. Americans are one of the most stressed nations in the world. Primarily because we bow to the god of green (money) while most other countries value human connections.

Maybe you are simply not getting enough rest. In the late 1800s “spa” treatments consisted primarily of rest, vegetarian food, and mild daily exercise. By 1900 electricity was beginning to rapidly blanket the landscape. Prior to electricity, most people slept 10-12 hours a night. Go to bed at sunset and get up at dawn was not only a motto, it’s what people did if they didn’t have electricity. By 1963 Americans slept an average of 8 1/2 hours a night and that became the new standard. But by 2002 most Americans were sleeping less than 6 hours a night.

I recently took a weekend class where our assignment was to attempt to sleep 10 to 12 hours that night. All but one class attendee complied and we were all so astonished at how good we felt it was all we could talk about during class and breaks. The one person who did not comply still felt stressed. What a lesson!

Symptoms of decreased sleep include fatigue, decreased cognitive function (you might call it brain fog), decreased insulin resistance (otherwise known as weight gain), and decreased immunity (the ones who “always get sick”). Of course I know that no one out there suffers from any of these conditions. What’s worse is the people getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night exhibit increased tryglycerides, an increased risk of blood clots, hypertension, and an increased risk of heart attacks. So don’t go around bragging about your need for less sleep. You may, in fact, need more.

 Before “asking your doctor if this drug is right for you” or buying something over-the-counter, consider seeing a naturapathic doctor. We have lots of levels to choose from. From simple kitchen and lifestyle makeovers to full blown programs with smoothies and supplements. Come find out what’s available and what might be right for you.
March Munches by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2014
Reasons to make Jambalaya 
One pot
Sausage & shrimp together? Win!
It has 4 syllables
It feeds everyone & more
It’s mardi gras baby!

OK, so now that you are convinced, let’s get started.
You will need a large pot with a heavy bottom - I use my dutch oven for this which is cast iron. You can tweak the recipe to whichever protein you have handy, leftover ham, turkey, tofu, you get it.

1 lb kielbasa or smoked sausage sliced
1 lb chicken breasts cubed
1 can chopped tomatoes & the juice
1 chopped bell pepper, red or green or combination
1 small yellow onion sliced thin
2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
2 ribs celery sliced
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Olive oil 
Chopped parsley 
2 cloves smashed garlic
½ lb large shrimp
1 t paprika
1 t cumin
Put about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat in pot over medium heat. Add chicken, browning on each side then season with salt and pepper and take the chicken out of the pan once browned. It does not need to be cooked through. Brown the sausage and remove, and set aside with the chicken. Add all of the veggies to the pot along with the seasoning and cook until tender crisp. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot along with the sausage and chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp on the top & cook 5 more minutes until the shrimp are firm and pink. Serve with chopped parsley over the top.

Beignets (been-yays)
A French doughnut that is fabulous fresh out of the oil. I like to thin out some Nutella with milk and drizzle along with thinned out raspberry jam - but that’s just me.
1½ cups lukewarm water 
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten 
1 t salt 
1 can evaporated milk 
7 cups bread flour 
½ cup vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep skillet or  deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioner’s sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain and shake in bag of confectioner’s sugar.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 03/01/2014
If a movie title could be applied to short sessions in Salem, “Fast and Furious” would be an accurate choice. 

Too fast for good policy to be whittled, and too furious for heads to cool and objectivity to prevail – especially since most legislators have a campaign to worry about just around the corner, which heightens emotions.

Constitutionally, we are required to meet for no longer than 35 calendar days in an even-numbered year … whereas our cap in odd-numbered years is 160 days. 

Oregon’s Legislature, as you know, is bicameral – with a house and senate, each with respective committees. There are generally five official steps for a bill to become a law from its first committee hearing to being signed by the Governor – so that’s an average of one step every seven days, which is a very high speed.

But it doesn’t stop there. What if a bill is politically charged? What if a bill looks benign but is gut-and-stuffed with something you don’t agree with? What if it has a fiscal impact you deem incorrect? What if it needs amending but a committee chair tells you it’s too late for that? What if you only have 10 minutes to figure out what your constituents as a whole want you to do?

These scenarios happen daily. It tells me that we have strayed from what voters expected in 2010 when they passed yearly sessions. We all believed the short one would only involve technical fixes and interim budget attention.

Call me old-fashioned, but the bill I sponsored and cared about most this session does fit that original mold. It is SB 1541 – extending the crop donation tax credit, which will continue to allow more locally grown food to be donated to the hungry. A large number of R’s and D’s have joined me in sponsoring the bill, and it will equate to millions of pounds of food donated by Oregon farms to the Oregon Food Bank and charities.

For those of you who want to see your state senator trade votes, play games, or think after voting, I’m sorry but I just won’t do that. It really is my hope that we can re-start the precedent of what these short sessions are supposed to be – boring and basic. 

The bills we only have 35 days to consider should reflect that, and I hope we can finally learn this lesson.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/01/2014
February 14 was not only Valentine’s Day, it was also Oregon’s 155th birthday! The capital celebrated by revealing the new Capital History Gateway. I encourage you to come and take a look at these incredible displays and their depiction of Oregon’s wonderful history. My office is available to set up tours of the capital building and I’m always available for a visit while you’re here.

There has been a great response to the 2014 survey and I really appreciate the time you have put into sharing your opinions. The deadline has passed to host work sessions in House committees and I can now provide a more substantial update regarding the survey topics. Big picture: leadership has taken advantage of the 35-day session by pushing through controversial and overhauling legislation without the benefit of bipartisan input. The February session was intended for common sense fixes to legislation and needed budgetary modifications, not to have sweeping reforms.

Columbia River Crossing
House Bill 4113 urges Oregon lawmakers to stay the course on the CRC project without bi-state cooperation with Washington. Last week, the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee voted on party lines to pass HB 4113. While I was supportive of a bi-state approach to building the bridge last session, I cannot support a go-it-alone approach. The potential financial and infrastructure related burdens would be felt throughout the I-205 corridor and HD 52. Currently, the bill is in the committee on Ways and Means awaiting further discussion.

Background Checks
Senate Bill 1551 requires a person to request a criminal background check before transferring firearms to any other person, with exception for transfer between family members, inherited firearms, and antique firearms. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee and has been referred to the committee on Rules. At this point, there seems to be no progression of this bill to the Senate floor. Should the bill move to the House, I do not foresee being supportive of it in its current form. I have supported and will continue to support additional state investment in mental health funding so that we can do a better job of identifying at-risk behaviors before they result in violence.

Legalization of Marijuana
Senate Bill 1556 refers the issue of marijuana legalization to Oregon voters. This bill has passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee and was referred to the committee on Rules. It is unclear what the Senate leadership intends to do with this bill. In its current form, the bill remains quite controversial. I will be monitoring the research and opinions put forth on this topic as session continues in order to remain prepared if the bill comes to the House floor.

Cover Oregon
Last week, Congressmen Greg Walden called upon the federal government to audit the use of federal money for the start-up of Cover Oregon. Republican members of the House Health Care Committee introduced amendments to improve oversight of the program including: allowing the Secretary of State to expedite an audit of CO; allowing Oregonians to receive federal subsidies when purchasing insurance outside of the exchange and directly from insurance providers; mandating that all findings from any independent review be made public. These amendments were voted down on a party line vote. Instead, there have been no steps forward to hold those accountable for the disruption and mismanagement of the exchange and no one has been held accountable.

Here are some great resources to help you track bills:
– Oregon Live, Your Government Bill tracker
– Oregon Legislative Information System
– Bill passed by the Oregon House to date in 2014 session
– Bills passed by the Oregon Senate to date in 2014 session
Columbia Gorge Regional Event
On President’s Day, myself and several Gorge area legislators hosted a networking and informational event for the Legislature. In attendance were representatives of the Columbia Gorge Commission, ports, cities, counties and private sector throughout the region. It was well attended by our colleagues and was intended to highlight the issues that connect the various public agencies and economies in the Gorge. It remains a real pleasure for me to represent such a wonderful section of Oregon as last night was evidence of how much our region contributes to the rest of the state.
It has been really helpful to hear your opinions throughout session. I have been able to assess what issues are important to my constituents of HD 52 and encourage you to keep in touch for the remainder of the month. 

If you have not taken my 2014 legislative survey, feel free to do so.  Contact my office at 503-986-1452 or email  rep.markjohnson@state.or.us.
Goldfinch: Vivid, Compelling by Sandra Palmer on 03/01/2014
Donna Tartt’s latest novel is a delicious reading experience that only comes to a serious reader once every year of so. While the book is certainly lengthy, it gives the avid reader an opportunity to spend a significant amount of time wallowing in the pleasure of Ms. Tartt’s elegant prose and the detailed life of her vividly drawn characters. 

Her story is compelling and the reader looks forward to returning again and again to this expertly drawn world and the compelling conflicts of her main character, Theo.

Theo is an adolescent when tragedy strikes. His beautiful and much-loved mother is killed by a fictional terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Left alone without anyone to care for him, he lands temporarily with the very affluent family of a school friend, then with his wayward father in Las Vegas and, finally, with a tender-hearted New York City antique dealer who shares his love and appreciation of beautiful things – and creating or restoring them. 

Theo’s ache for his mother’s presence is pronounced and the emptiness in his life due to her absence leads him astray at times. However, we come to love and appreciate Theo’s flawed character and the many varied locales he inhabits while trying to find his place in the world. Even when he wanders far afield from wise choices, we can’t help but root for him to succeed and find happiness.

The Goldfinch, a famous painting by Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, figures heavily in the storyline and creates much tension for Theo. In the confusion and shock following the bombing, Theo encounters an elderly New York antique dealer who presses his ring into Theo’s hands and begs that he take it to his business partner. He also insists that Theo should take the small masterpiece The Goldfinch out of the Museum as well. Theo shares the man’s fascination with the painting, taking it along in his satchel but, ultimately, is tormented over what to do when the authorities realize it is missing. He is afraid to return it and afraid not to while also emotionally desperate to keep the object since it has come to be a prized, secret possession. 

How this conflict is ultimately resolved drives much of the suspense in the book. We come to realize that for Theo to finally recover from his grief and sad connection to his mother’s death, the painting must finally be returned to an appropriate public place for its preservation and appreciation.

The Goldfinch is so much more than I can convey in this brief space but, mostly, it is a journey to be relished. Give this wonderful novel your time and you will be amply rewarded.

Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College. Her other works include The Secret History and The Little Friend. 
Episode VIII - Skinny Legs and Justice by Max Malone, Private Eye on 03/01/2014
fter storming out of Greinke’s law office, casting nary a glance at the Thai receptionist, I field a cell phone call from Francoise, my secretary. She needs me at the office to endorse a client’s check and put my signature on the taxes – which are due tomorrow.

Francoise, as she is known to do, alters my cloudy mood with her request. She can put my John Hancock on a document better than I. A smile breaks through the overcast. I comply like a dutiful golden retriever. I whip out the signatures with Francoise standing over me like a third-grade penmanship teacher – but ten times more cursive. I take the moment to reacquaint myself with an office I’ve spent precious little time in of late. It’s unsurprisingly austere, wood floors, a mahogany reception desk, oak book cases, an open area with my intentionally understated metal desk, and lots of light – when Portland weather grudgingly concedes it.

I call Frank Strong – formerly Feral Strong of porno fame, turned crack researcher in the attorney general’s office – and quiz him more about Greinke. Frank tells me he’s been keeping track of the lawyer and his reckless ambition.
“Since you told me of his fiance’s pregnancy, I’ve done some checking up,” Frank says, his voice in hushed tones due to the perils of his office. “Seems there’s another woman in the game. Don’t have her name.”

But I did.

“She’s new on the scene, but definitely arrived before the McGee murder,” Frank continues, sotto voce. “I dug out a photo of Greinke at a political fundraiser taken a month ago. This woman is just off his shoulder, gazing at him fondly, and obviously not for the first time. I’ll shoot you a copy to your email.”

The drive back to the mountain community takes a little less than an hour. When you’re in a hurry, it can seem like a camel caravan across the Gobi desert. And rest assured, I’d never sit an animal that can bite you while you ride.

Call me a dromedary delinquent.

I head straight for Lola’s joint. It’s mid-afternoon, an hour before the locals file in for happy hour, and that should give me the opportunity I need. I’m in luck. Lola is rearranging the stage area with Katrina handling the bartender chores. I sit down in the drummer’s chair behind the trap set. Lola sees I’m serious, sits half of her delightful self on a guitar stool.
“What do you know of Hope’s relationship with Maggie,” I ask flatly.
Lola unfolds a knowing smile that would make daVinci scramble for his paint brush.
“On the surface, good friends,” Lola begins, then after a pregnant pause, “But there was always an edge. Hope, you see, or maybe you see now, is opportunistic. She’s a go-getter. She has always looked beyond this mountain. Maggie (shrug), not so much. She is, uh, was, a true mountain girl. She wanted to reform Paul. Make him discover the virtues of living here, beyond his press opportunities climbing Mount Hood or fly fishing in our rivers.”
“Can Hope handle a gun?”
Lola doesn’t flinch at the question. “Put it this way. A couple boy friends ago operated a firing range and gave lessons.”
I walk off the stage. Katrina catches my attention at the bar with a beckoning wave of the hand. She rushes up to me like a gentle Jamaican wave.
“I’ve wanted to tell you something.” Her eyes hold me like a tanned hand around a pina colada. “You need to be careful. When Hope gets a target, she seldom misses.”

I thanked Katrina. Made a move to the brim of my fedora as a departing salute, found I was still hatless, which also was due to the fact that Hope suffered one of her “seldom misses.”

Straight to Hope’s house. I stomp onto her girly porch, complete with a rope swing and enough chimes to charm an over-the-hill hippy. Three loud raps on the door with my knuckles. Hope appears quickly, a shocked expression sketched across her once-delightful face. She looked like she had just received a phone call from an attorney. She doesn’t step back to offer me entry – an option that I hadn’t even considered.
“You owe me a fedora, young lady. One day, I’ll collect.”
I wheel and walk away, offering my backside. We must remember this, Bogie taught me a lot of my moves.

I stop by the local newspaper office and tell Nigel Best, the editor, all I know and hand him the photo of Greinke and Hope. It may take a while, but he’ll figure it out.

The next afternoon I’m admiring Katrina’s slender legs stretched out on a lawn chair on my porch. We’ve shared a couple Jamaican rums on the rocks – what else? – and I’ve told her the whole story.

“But what about justice?” she says, her voice barely stirring a breeze. “You can’t just leave it there.”

There are all kinds of justice, I say to myself. There’s the swift kind that comes from an act of revenge. There’s the awkward kind that clatters through courtrooms to a creaky conclusion. But there’s another kind, where justice hangs by a thread over the guilty heads like the sword of Damocles, that will one day prove that with great power also comes great peril.

“I can wait,” I say to Katrina. “There’s a phone, a photo and a fedora.”

And Nigel and sheriff’s detectives will close in one day – and I can wait.

That night at Lola’s, I watched Katrina, my ventilated fedora cocked to one side and slanted forward on her head, as she danced the night away. Skinny legs and all.

Call me a Tom Robbins rowdy.

The next morning I drop a needle on a Harry Belafonte vinyl. Katrina’s in the kitchen.
“Hope you like your eggs boiled,” she croons.

I turn slowly to the camera.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

(A couple months go by, with Max and Katrina as thick as ham and country gravy, when the revelry is broken by a phone call. Someone in a Reno jail used her only call to plead for Max’s help. Surprised?)

by Larry Berteau/MT
Extra Wet March on the Way by Herb Miller on 03/01/2014
Temperatures this February have averaged well below normal, due in part to another arctic cold snap that moved in Feb. 3 and hung around for a week.

Brightwood recorded a record 8-inch snowfall Feb. 8, replacing the 7-inch total set two years earlier. Temperatures moderated on the 10th, but a series of moist storms brought river levels up to flood stage before easing off a bit, and lowering freezing levels allowed snowfall to return to the Mountain. The last week ended on a drier note but the precipitation amounts at both Brightwood and Government Camp were well above average. 

And the folks on the Mountain can rejoice with the return of snow.

For what it’s worth, the National Weather Service expects our area will have about average temperatures but slightly above average precipitation for March. If its outlook for later this spring and summer is accurate, we can expect warm and dry weather.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52 degrees, an average low of 35 and a precipitation average of 8.11 inches – including an average 3 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 70s three times, into the 60s during five years, and into the 50s the other two years. Low temperatures had eight years in the upper 20s, and other two years in the 30s. The record total snowfall of 18 inches was measured just two years ago in 2012, which also recorded an impressive precipitation total of 19.17 inches but shy of the record 21.59 inches set in 2003.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41 degrees, an average low of 27, and a precipitation average of 9.07 inches – including 47 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have ranged from one year in the 70s, two years in the 40s, two years in the 50s, and the remaining five years reached into the 60s. Low temperatures were evenly divided with five years dipping down to the teens, and the other five into the 20s. This decade has recorded several of the highest 24-hour snowfall measurements for March dating back to 1951, including 22 inches in 2012, 21 inches in 2003, and 18 inches in 2011.

Bless Your Heart by Victoria Larson on 02/02/2014
Place your hands over your heart and feel it beating. Your heart keeps you going all day, all night, throughout your life. Now thank your heart for all it does and make a pact with your heart to keep it in tiptop health to the best of your ability. For yourself and for your loved ones.
 
It is unfortunate that the United States has a higher percentage of heart disease than most other civilized nations. We are the most worried people on earth. We live in a highly competitive business climate that leads to continuous anger, anxiety, desperation, and fear. Emotions of greed and resentment can destroy heart tissue, as well as other tissues of the body. In Chinese medicine, the liver corresponds to anger, the lungs grief, and the kidneys fear.
 
The famous doctor who knew so much about stress mechanisms, Hans Selye, MD, found that emotional stress causes depletion of Vitamin C in the adrenal glands. People all over America have stressed adrenal glands, making them depressed, tired, snippy, and just plain mean sometimes. Just watching the news can deplete your adrenal glands.
 
Add nutritional deficiencies, incomplete digestion, constipation, and auto-toxicity to poor health habits such as drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise and you’ve set the stage for poor heart health. This is why NDs don’t just treat the adrenals, but want to address each patient as a whole and unique person.
 
While smoking is the absolute worst habit for those seeking optimum heart health, the second worst habit is sitting. Just sitting. Think about how most Americans live. First thing in the morning you turn on the coffeepot, the computer, or the TV news. So even before going to work, you sit in front of the computer (for how long?). Then you get into your car and drive to work (and sit for how long?). Many workers spend their entire workday in front of a computer (for how long?) and then reverse the drive (how long?) to get home and turn on that TV to watch the news again and later a movie (for how long?). Simple math tells us all that we’re sitting too much!
 
A study in Britain showed that the mortality rate from heart disease to people who did physical work was less than half that of the group that did little or no physical work. But have we shoved physical well-being into the background while glorifying computer work, even to the point of paying relatively high wages for non-physical work. The executive is more glorified than the ditch digger. But who would live longer? And what is “success”?
 
If we wonder how our parents and grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s we need only look at the lifestyle of gathering wood for heat, hanging clothes outside to dry, raising your own food, cooking and processing it yourself, hunting and fishing to provide for yourself and your family. Not much sitting in that lifestyle. Simply walking 10 miles a day is a great form of exercise. And it doesn’t have to be all at once. When the Schoolhouse Natural Health clinic was still in Sandy I remember thinking that walking to the post office would be way too time consuming. Boy was I chagrined to realize that it took less than 10 minutes.
 
Other nations that have a lower rate of heart disease either engage in a much higher level of physical activity, or they use health systems to prevent heart attacks. Government and insurance company recommendations extend beyond ideas to radio broadcasts of times set aside to move about. In China, people are not laughed at for doing impromptu QiGong in public plazas where anyone can join in at any time. Thousands of reconditioning centers throughout Europe treat workers and executives for fatigue, malnourishment, and tension. A few weeks of health building diet, hydrotherapy, physical workouts, and relaxation training would do us all a world of good.
 While we may realize the relationship between high blood pressure and stress to heart disease, we don’t tend to think any deeper than that. In fact constipation leads to toxicity in the body which stresses and diminishes all the tissues of the body. So problems like constipation could be considered a sub-clinical stage of heart disease. Which is why you don’t want to ignore the small stuff and you do want to go to a Naturopathic Doctor in order to treat the whole person, not just a part of that person.
 
The keys to better heart health are in your kitchen, or they should be. Junk the junk food and move continually towards fresh, organic, non-processed food that builds your health. Consider growing some of your own food this year as this will get you up off the couch and into some more sunlight. Now put a hand over your heart again, and pledge to love yourself, and others, by doing your very best for your heart. Love to you all.
February To Do List by Taeler Butel on 02/02/2014
– Chocolate
– Make snacks for a football game
– I’m not a huge football fan, but I am a fan of Superbowl food.

Sloppy Joe Sliders
Filling:
1 small white onion diced fine
2 stalks celery sliced thin
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1 T Worcester sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
½ t Italian seasoning
2 t Dijon mustard
In a large skillet add oil and heat on med high. Add in the onions and celery and cook a few minutes until tender, then add in ground meat, cooking until browned. Stir in tomato paste and cook a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Let simmer 15 minutes more then serve over biscuits or in a lettuce wrap.

For the biscuits:
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup heavy cream
¼ t garlic powder
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
For brushing on top:
2 T melted butter
¼t dried parsley flakes
½ t garlic powder
pinch of salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour and cream in a mixing bowl, stirring just until blended. Add cheddar cheese and garlic powder and mix together by hand on a floured surface until incorporated.
Drop dough in approximately 1 tablespoon mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet. You can use an ice cream scoop for uniform consistency, but I just eyeballed mine. They don’t have to be perfect. Bake for 12-13 minutes until tops begin to turn golden brown.
While biscuits are baking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the ¼ t of parsley flakes, ½ t of garlic powder, and the pinch of salt. After biscuits are done baking, brush the butter mixture over the tops of the warm biscuits.
Sweet homemade gifts for all of your loves:

Sweet chocolate sugar scrub:
½ cup raw cane sugar or brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 T cocoa powder
¼ cup Olive Oil
½ t vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings from bakers chocolate square (optional)
Put sugar and cocoa in a bowl and whisk together. Stir in oil and vanilla extract carefully so you don’t dissolve the sugar, grate chocolate into fine shreds and stir in. Scoop into small containers with a pretty bow.  

Chocolate fudge sauce:
3 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
½ cup heavy cream
6 T brown sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T unsalted butter
1 t vanilla extract
Small pinch kosher salt

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in small, heavy saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer and whisk for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving. Give away in a jar adding a label to keep refrigerated.
Identical Twins Clash by Sandra Palmer on 02/02/2014
After 25 years in prison, Paul Giannis’ identical twin brother Cass is finally released, having served his time for a crime he always claimed he did not commit – the murder of his then girlfriend, Dita Kronon.

While thrilled to have his brother back, Paul’s political campaign for Mayor is immediately threatened by issues still unsettled connected to his brother’s conviction. And rumors are circulating as well – fueled by Paul’s political opponents – that he was also somehow linked to his brother’s crime. Or, even worse, that he might have been the murderer, not his twin brother after all.

Dita’s brother Hal Kronon has never let the matter go and now that Cass is out of prison, he enlists one of his employees Evon Miller (a former FBI agent) and an experienced but aging local investigator Tim Brodie (with ties to the original murder case against Cass) to dig up the dirt on Paul. Soon the two unlikely investigators team up to re-visit the crime, submit evidence for fresh, high-tech analysis and re-interview those with connections to the principal actors. It’s not long before shocking and unexpected evidence sends them in unexpected directions, some they are intent on even keeping from their boss.

While this won’t be the first time that Scott Turow has used the intricacies of modern forensic investigation to unravel a web of lies in one of his novels, the unique opportunity presented by identical twins with almost identical DNA and finger prints opens many avenues for intrigue. And it’s clear that both families have many secrets that impact the crime which are gradually brought to light.
Much of “Identical” is courtroom drama in which Turow excels but it’s also a legal who-done-it put together by an expert author who knows how to build the pieces toward unexpected conclusions that surprise his readers.

The plot and characters are complex. You may find yourself wondering when the story will truly get moving but it certainly does.

It just takes the author some time to present all the elements and characters in context for the reader.
Having read many of Turow’s works over the years, this is probably not his very best but it’s Scott Turow and that is always very, very good.

SCOTT TUROW is the author of five worldwide bestselling novels, most notably his first, “Presumed Innocent.” His non-fiction, book, “Ultimate Punishment,” influenced the unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 Illinois death row inmates.

He lives with his family outside Chicago, where he still practices law and has twice served as President of the Author’s Guild, the nation’s largest membership organization of professional writers. 
Married Men Should Watch 'The Bachelor' by Ned Hickson on 02/02/2014
My name is Ned and I watch The Bachelor.

I can see the looks of confusion but that’s okay; I’ve gotten used to it. In fact, I used to hide my Bachelor/Bachelorette watching...


“Hey Ned, how about that Trailblazers game last night?!?”

“Yeah, man! They really dominated the paint!”

“What are you talking about? They LOST!”

“Oh, right. Uh, I got tapped out for a house fire and missed the second half.”
“Was everyone ok?”

“Yeah, but the girls who didn’t get a rose were pretty upset.”

“Wait... what?”

I actually watch very little television. The shows I do watch are because of personal interest. I watch Chicago Fire because I’m a volunteer firefighter; The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour because I‘m a journalist; Hell’s Kitchen because I was a chef for 10 years; The Bachelor because I don’t ever want to be one again. As a happily married man, I can tell you the benefits of a good marriage far outweigh the initial discomfort of watching Chris Harrison — week after week — inform everyone who didn’t pass kindergarten math that there’s only one rose left.

As someone who has been watching The Bachelor with his wife for several years now, I have gained a few insights that have made me a better husband. To illustrate my point, and more importantly show my wife I’m not just paying attention during bikini volleyball, I am going to share a few of those insights with you.

First, always keep a rose with you. Always. Having the ability to — at a moment’s notice — produce a fragrant flower symbolizing your love is a game changer that can diffuse any situation....    
Wife: “Are these your dirty BOXERS in the sink... AGAIN!”

Husband: [Pulls out rose] “This is for you.”

Wife: “Oh sweetheart! Where else can I look for your boxers? Wait, don’t tell me! I want it to be like an Easter egg hunt!”

In the rare instance a rose isn’t enough, make sure you have a mutual friend willing to be a love liaison for you. Someone who cares about you both and has your best interest as a couple in mind. I would highly suggest getting Chris Harrison. He may not be able to count higher than 1, but he is an artful mediator. Contrary to what you might think, getting his help is actually pretty easy. All you have to do is take a single rose and put it in a basket. He will appear almost instantly to announce it’s the only one left. When he does, you’ve got him.

Lastly, after watching several seasons of The Bachelor, it’s clear that trust and emotional bonds are strengthened by participating in life-threatening activities together. These opportunities are presented many times over the course of a season. For the rest of us, especially those with children, the closest we get to experiencing bond-building danger together is when someone accidentally puts a fork in the microwave. For this reason, when opportunity presents itself, you need to make the most of it by doubling up on the danger.

Going bungee jumping?

DOUBLE-UP!

Do it over a shark tank.

Going skydiving?

DOUBLE-UP!
Land in a bull-riding competition dressed as rodeo clowns.

Riding as passengers in a NASCAR race?

DOUBLE-UP!

Let my daughter drive.

Haha! Just kidding! You can‘t strengthen emotional bonds if you‘re dead.
But you get the idea.

So, come next Monday, I‘ll once again take a spot on the couch next to my wife and watch as Juan Pablo attempts what is essentially televised cat juggling, complete with claws and hissing.
Possibly even some flying fur.

But as he attempts to discover the inner truths of each woman and searches for his soulmate one rose at a time, my wife and I will be eating snack foods as we share observations about each contestant — which brings me to the most valuable lesson I‘ve learned:

Given the chance to be The Bachelor, I’d still choose my wife.

Especially if there’s bikini volleyball.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available at Port Hole Publications, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)

Max Malone
Episode VII -- Den of Thieves by Max Malone, Private Eye on 02/02/2014
With the early morning sun to my back, I urged my Suburban along the highway, dodging commuters in their hybrid whatevers as they jockeyed for position to not be the last worker to arrive in Portland – as if that was going to tip the economic balance of an already underwhelmed city.

Call me a Greenspan guerrilla.

My destination was the law offices of Greinke, White and Wong. Along the way I formulated my plan for the anticipated sit-down with the ambitious Paul Greinke – that is, if I could get past that wascally Elmer Fudd, who I was convinced held sway over the reception desk. “Don’t get me Wong …” I can almost hear him say.

I pick my way carefully into the Concordia District – a fulsome city-centric neighborhood of inexact proportions – with an art gallery on every corner, each leaning against a local pub that has more micro-brews than the one across the street. I pull into a public parking lot that faces the law office. It’s exactly as I imagined: wood frame, one story, white with powder blue trim, and a subtle yet somehow bold brass accented sign displaying the names of the three attorneys awaiting your arrival, each name with an Esquire bringing up the rear.

I wait while Sinatra finishes “Luck Be a Lady” on my CD player. I have a firm grip on my priorities and never let a lady out of my sight.

It’s not often my gait gets altered. The rifle shot that ventilated my fedora last night was one of those rare occurrences. But twice in two days? Still, there she was. In an uptown dress, hair tucked neatly in a big city bun, clicking along on I-already-made-it heels, she swayed out of the law office, up the street and around a corner like Goldie Hawn with a new movie contract. Hope falls eternal.

My eyes narrowed. My plan for the Greinke meeting disappeared down the drain like a schizophrenic cockroach. Sometimes I think too much, I think, as I bound out of the Suburban and stride across the street, determined to get the ball back, ignoring the blow to the midsection of my otherwise intractable ego.

The reception desk is not manned by Elmer Fudd. Far from it. A  young Thai woman in the obligatory little black dress awaits. I’m forced to push out of my mind the time I spent in Bangkok, where I had to escape from a jail by rolling up in a ball like a sow bug, inside an empty food cart, where I was ultimately deposited in an alley full of dumpsters which made me wonder if my situation had improved, before bribing an American state department bigwig whose daughter had run off with an international drug kingpin who had recently gained political asylum in Ecuador, and I was his only source for tracking this criminal down, which got me out of the country with a quickly designed passport that made me – until I arrived in San Francisco with an unexpected 24-hour layover in Beijing – a man named Saul Pasowicz.

But that’s another story.

I slid my biz card onto the receptionist’s desk.
“I’m here to see Paul Greinke.”
“Do you have an appointment, uh (hooded glance at the card) Mr. Malone?”
“Tell him I’m investigating the Maggie McGee murder.”
She connected with yet another layer of legal bureaucratic tape, telling the next-in-line of my request. She listened, then looked up at me with an alluring yet underplayed smile.
“Would you wait just a moment, please?”
You bet I would, I didn’t say, but nodded and remained planted at the desk, eschewing a seat in one of the leather chairs in the reception room. Offensive? Perhaps. But I still had Hope’s departure planted in my frontal lobes.

The next-in-line secretary arrived quickly, and didn’t disappoint. If nothing else,
Greinke had an eye for the hire. I followed her down the hall, pleased with the stroll and the view, and she squired me in to the Esquire’s lair. Greinke stood up (favoring his injured leg? – was that just for me?).

“Pardon me for staying behind my desk, Mr. Malone. I have a bad leg.” His tone was cordial, yet measured. He was Ali Baba, and I was not one of the trusted forty thieves.

Call me a nut for the “Arabian Nights.”

A quick, private-eye glance took in the wall of honors. He had more degrees than a convection oven. Pictures of Greinke were everywhere. One shaking hands with Mitt Romney. Another at a function with Dan Quayle. His circle of acquaintances was wide, if a tad wobbly. He motioned me to sit and I obliged, staring at him over the top of a set of never-used fountain pens in an Oriental pen holder.

“I’m here about Maggie McGee’s murder,” I said, getting quickly to the point.
“OK. That’s such a tragedy and still a very sad affair for me. I’m pleased the police made an arrest.”
“Yes, I’m sure,” I said with an alarming lack of conviction – even for me. “Are you aware that her cell phone turned up?”
“Yes.”
“Did Hope tell you?” I asked, unabashed.
“Who? Oh, Hope. No. Why do you ask that?
“She just left here a few minutes ago.”
Greinke doesn’t flinch. He’s had practice plying his practice.
“Yes. Well, she was a good friend of Maggie’s.”
“And of you?”
“Look.” He almost stood up then remembered he shouldn’t, or couldn’t. “I don’t see how this is any of your business.”
“I’m making it my business.  I’m full of business. Especially when I’m being played.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Malone.” He reaches for his phone.
“Before you do that, I advise you to listen for a minute. The guy who was arrested for this murder is no more guilty than one of Ali Baba’s thieves.” (He doesn’t know about my previous vision.) “I have, on good reference, that there’s another woman involved in all of this. And I will get to the bottom of it.” I stand up. “So if there’s anything you want to tell me, now’s a real good time for that. Your alternative is to find me snooping into your personal life like a wolverine having a bad day.”
“I don’t take kindly to threats, Mr. Malone.”
“It’s not a threat, Mr. Greinke. It’s a promise.”
“We have no more business here,” he says resolutely, but his index finger twitches and rolls over his thumb – a tell in poker player’s parlance.

Call me a sucker for Amarillo Slim.

I head for the door. If he only knew how much more business we have together. And soon, so will Hope.

After all, spurned or not, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Mild Winter Could Turn 'Average' by Herb Miller on 02/02/2014
ttern, our weather during most of the last half of January was dominated by a ridge of high pressure that resulted in dry, sunny days with above normal temperatures, especially at higher elevations during periods of atmospheric inversion.

Temperatures have averaged close to 10 degrees above normal in Government Camp and snowfall has totaled only 17 inches, just a fraction of the normal 59 inches.

Brightwood has not had any snow compared to a normal 9 inches it enjoys in January.

The last few days of the month had a more typical weather pattern and perhaps February will usher in a change that will bring some snow to the slopes.

The National Weather Service continues to observe that sea-surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the tropical area of the Pacific Ocean continue to be average. This is one of the factors resulting in their forecast for our area to expect near average temperatures and precipitation during February.

Brightwood has an average February high temperature of 47 degrees, an average low of 34 and a precipitation average of 8.43 inches – including an average 6 inches of snow. During the last 10 years high temperatures have reached 60 degrees three times with the other seven settling for the 50s. Low temperatures had seven years in the 20s, two in the teens, and the other year never fell below the 30s. The record total snowfall of 32 inches was measured in 1986. Greatest monthly precipitation of 17.60 inches fell in 1979.

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 38 degrees, an average low of 26, and a precipitation average of 9.70 inches – including 42 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 40s during five years, the 50s twice, and three years made the 60s. Low temperatures had two years in the single digits, five in the teens, and three years in the 20s.

Wouldn’t it be nice if history could repeat last year’s 19-inch snowfall that fell on Feb. 23.
New Year's Resolution: Make it Better by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2014
My grandson came screaming in with nose streaming blood, lips swollen, cheek and nose abraded, and a cut under his chin. More scared than hurt, all he wanted was for me to “make it better.” Hugs and kisses and Dr. Victoria’s Salve took care of it but it got me to thinking. Aren’t we all scared and hurting and longing to “make it better”?
 
Would that it would be so easy to heal the hurts of our Earth, our society, ourselves. Many feel overwhelmed after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, most of it of our own insistence. Feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling of “burnout” and depression. What we need at the beginning of a new year are some concrete, do-able steps to dispel that burnout and depression.
 
Research shows that just five hours over a 40-hour work week leads to a 5 percent increase in burnout. Few really have jobs that require longer hours at work. To “make it better” why not forgo that fast food, manicure, unnecessary trip to the store. Eat better food at home, spend less money, use less fuel. Feel better about yourself as you’ve made one small decision for the Earth as well.
 
Burnout leads to feelings of cynicism, frustration, and ultimately the feeling that the only way to deal with those feelings is to shove others out of the way. Is this why some end up shooting up the mall, the movie theatre, or the school? This has to stop. We have to get a grip. The opposite of burnout is connection. Gratitude is an antidote for burnout. Say “thank you” to everyone you can – the checkout person, the gas station attendant, the school bus driver. They are all doing something for you. Appreciate.
 
Avoiding help is a surefire way to make things worse for yourself and ultimately others. Find people to connect with – a church, a quilting group, a lonely senior citizen. If none are near you, start a group. There are days when I’m brain dead and think that doing the crossword puzzles in a group would be a great idea! If little steps don’t work, consider seeing a doctor for an assessment of your health, or a counselor.
 
Practice caring for yourself when feeling particularly blue. This does NOT mean an extra glass of wine, but might be accomplished with a bubble bath, a cup of herbal tea, or a phone call or letter to a relative or friend. Maybe it’s time to heal old hurts. I have a cousin whom I did not hear from for a very long time though I continued to write personal holiday greetings every year. Fifteen years later she finally responded with belated gratitude and we’ve been sharing our memories of our childhood together since then.
 
Focus on nurturing yourself with comfort foods. After the mashed potatoes and gravy (or whatever your comfort food) remember that oranges were once considered to be a treat. And they still can be. The scent of citrus is uplifting and the sprightly flavor will boost your mood as well as elevate your physical well-being. Soups are comforting, particularly if home made and they take so little work. Get out the crock pot and just put a bunch of leftover vegetables in some broth and you’ve got comfort food par excellence. Freeze the leftovers or take some to a neighbor. A good way to make friends.
 
Eat seasonal foods that are warming. Put cinnamon, cloves, or ginger in your tea. Not only will they warm you but may just stave off the illnesses that often come with feelings of depression as well. Roast cruciferous vegetables and squash in the oven. Simmer soups or stews on the stove and it will provide you and your family the anticipation of something good to eat. Avoid simple carbs and sugars as much as possible. This means that cookies, crackers, potato chips, and pretzels become only occasional treats and not daily indulgences.
 
Don’t eat out more than once a week. While it’s nice to have someone to serve you, it is more expensive than eating at home, uses fuel resources, and invariably is higher in calories and fewer in nutrients than something you have made for yourself and your family or neighbors.
 In our sped up lives, spring comes very soon. Caring for ourselves makes us better able to care for others and that’s what we all need to be doing. Remembering that connecting with others is the best way to dispel burnout and depression so that lighter days will return.
 
To nurture yourself, try and get some fresh air every day. The stagnant air in our super-insulated homes can make you just plain tired. If weather permits take a walk or a bike ride. Forget getting into the car. We don’t need any more depressing pollution. Put up bird feeders and get a book to identify the birds that visit. Occupy the mind with something to dispel depression and keep your cognitive function going.
 
Create something for yourself or for someone else. Anything – a drawing, muffins, or learn a new skill. Do a craft with a child and both of you will be rewarded with connectedness, the antidote to burnout and depression. Eat well, sleep well, stay well.
Damage Control by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2014
How do I know if I need damage control from holiday eating?

You stopped  counting your chins after No. 3.

Your friends refer to you as “the one with all of the cheese.”

You have several birthdays a year just to get cake.

When wearing a red sweater kids run up to you yelling “Santa Clause!”

People are now asking you how many hours until your twins are due.
You can no longer pull your pants up past your ankles.

If you have answered yes to any of these, you may need to get a little more healthy in your lifestyle. Here’s some simple tips and delicious recipes – no diet fads allowed, keep those for the late night TV commercials.

Keep a salad bar in your fridge: Chop & shred lean meat, boil & chop potatoes, eggs, etc., cook brown rice, blanch green beans, keep baby carrots and tomatoes, olives, sliced cucumbers, canned beans, leafy salad mixes & calorie-reduced salad dressings made from greek yogurt, olive oil etc. Having everything close at hand and ready to go will help you make a good choice instead of a quick fix.
Also keep healthy snacks with you to help avoid the drive through.  I like raw nuts, dried fruit, rice crackers etc.

Choose an alternative:  Brown rice, roasted veggies and spaghetti squash can replace regular noodles & baked potatoes. Choose  a sorbet instead of an ice cream or fresh fruit at the end of your meal.
Have a Soup Night: Soup is hot and satisfying and can use lots of veggies which is what you want to fill up on. Look for a clear soup if you are out and about and make your own at home – the store shelf soup is full of fat and salt. As an added bonus you can use leftovers and it freezes really well.
Look to other health conscience cultures: I love a good greasy diner meal or a Tavern burger every now and again but look to Mediterranean and Asian cuisine with all the vegetables and clear broth & spices. This will help you to be satisfied with healthier lighter dishes.

Do a gentle cleanse every 90 days – Did you know there are bacteria that live in your body and make you crave carbs and sugar so they can feed off of it? Gross, right? Doing a cleanse will remove these little monsters. I do one called an herbal cleanse by Advocare - you should never do a cleanse that includes not eating, this will slow your metabolism.
 
Keep your energy high & hydrate yourself. When you are tired and thirsty your body will confuse this as hunger so sip on green tea, citrus infused water or an herbal tea. I drink a brain food drink called Spark also by Advocare. Lay off of pop – switch to sparkling water.

Protein Protein Protein: 50-60 grams a day to burn body fat. Use greek yogurt, a protein powder of your liking, and veggies like edememe. Also nuts like raw almonds, beans, and lean meats are all great.

Fall in love with your workout. Do something that is fun for you - hiking, snow shoeing or biking. I have to admit I hate the treadmill. If you are not outdoorsy, choose a workout video that’s super fun or dance like no one is watching. I try to plan several workouts during the week and invite friends.

How about a recipe:

Turkey chili with kale & quinoa
6 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 Cup Quinoa (cook per package directions)
1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
1 cup of frozen chopped kale or spinach
 ½ Yellow Onion
 2 Cloves Garlic
 6 Roma Tomatoes chopped
or 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  1 Red Bell pepper
  1 Green Bell Pepper
  1 Cup sliced Mushrooms
  1 Cup Diced Parsley
  1 Pack Taco Seasoning
   1 Can Organic Black Beans (Rinsed)
Olive oil, salt and pepper, guacamole and whole grain chips for serving.

In a large pot brown the turkey with a Tablespoon of olive oil adding in the onion and seasoning halfway through. Next add in the mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes  & garlic. Cook until liquid is reduced and add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 mins and serve with  guacamole and a few chips if desired.
Rich Characters Reside in 'Shadows' by Sandra Palmer on 01/01/2014
Once you have read John Keeble, it’s impossible not to jump on something new from this author with great anticipation and confidence. ‘The Shadow of Owls” surely does not disappoint. This wonderful novel is filled with John’s expertly crafted prose, thoughtful images and rich characters that keep the pages turning while the reader hates to see the end coming since the book itself is such a great experience.

John has a knack for describing complex technology in a way that renders it fascinating and understandable while utilizing language that is beautiful and almost spare. He is also adept at building tension without the cheap cliff-hangers and short chapters that are common in less literary books in many best sellers. His characters are real and substantial – no cookie-cutter stereotypes here. He is also passionate about the environment and the Pacific Northwest and it shows. His intimate knowledge of NW terrain, geologic history, natural environment and culture play an essential part in this terrific tale of danger and intrigue.

In “The Shadow of Owls” we follow the story of an extraordinarily talented, outspoken and determined diver, Kate DeShazer, whose research into NW aquatic ecosystems threatens powerful oil interests and whose do-gooder sensibilities put her in harm’s way in remote Idaho during a period of deep snowfall. Her husband Jack is resolute about finding her even if it means tangling with some threatening and downright scary White Supremacist neighbors who may have misunderstood his wife’s motivations. His teenage son Travis and his friend and fellow logger Gene assist him in puzzling through the possibilities and sifting the evidence for clues after their home is left in chaos following a break-in. The men also make several trips into the local White Power encampment during a regional meeting complete with a burning cross and hundreds of attendees from beyond the local area.

After rescuing a nearly hypothermic woman from wrecked vehicle in a snowdrift, Kate becomes entangled in the woman’s manipulations and attempts to flee an abusive relationship. This results in personal injury and kidnapping while her family struggles to locate her. Flashes to story perspectives on ocean vessels and characters who have professional interests at odds to her own build the suspense and the background for her personal jeopardy.

If you are looking for an easy read, this isn’t it. But if you are up for an intelligent novel that is taut with suspense and filled with literary confrontation of ecological challenges, plunge in with gusto. Novels as well written as this don’t come along very often.

John Keeble is the author of “Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound” and four novels, including “Broken Ground” and “Yellowfish.” He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and he has received a Washington State Governor’s Award. John lives in Eastern Washington with his family.
Dirty Diaper Football by Ned Hickson on 01/01/2014
Though I’m a parent who is many years beyond his children’s diaper phase (Ya Baby! WOOO-HOOO, You Know it! YOWZA!)

Sorry.

Anyway, I have several friends who are now embarking on this journey and who have asked my advice regarding the choice between cloth or disposable diapers. I told them, without hesitation, that I was somewhat offended by their insinuation, and that unless it was All-You-Can-Eat-Frijole-Night at the Enfermo Taco, I was still quite in control of my bodily functions, thank you very much.

Moments later, upon returning from the restroom, it hit me: I really needed to go back. It was during this second run — or really more of a quick step — I realized they had been referring to diapers for their own children.

Though I used cloth diapers for my children  — which is why my thumbs and index fingers look like pin cushions at a second-hand store — I suggested disposable for one simple reason:

Plastic disposables have a distinct advantage over cloth when it comes to playing dirty diaper football.
Whether they admit it or not, at some point all men participate in this fantasy scenario, which takes place when they are at home and alone when their baby makes a dookie. That’s when the highlight reel begins to roll and goes something like this:

It is a clutch situation in a game-winning scenario as the center (played by baby), gives the snap (in the form of a dirty diaper) to the quarterback (Dad), who then shuffles back and straight-arms a defender before launching a pass to the receiver (diaper pail) for the WINNING TOUCHDOWN!

Unless, of course, it is intercepted by the wall or unravels before reaching its intended receiver.
Based on my experience, I highly recommend plastic for several reasons. First, you can’t throw a nice spiral with cloth; too floppy, and the center of gravity...

...Well, there is no center of gravity. Your diaper football will simply wobble too much in flight to achieve any kind of accuracy in your air game.

Second, the safety pins are a hazard, and they also affect the aerodynamics of your passing game. Forget any “hail Mary” plays with cloth.

And if you overthrow?

Let’s just say it will look like you just sponge-painted your wall.

Third, you can’t (or shouldn’t) punt a cloth diaper football.

The same goes for spiking.

Take it from me, an “excessive celebration” call will be the least of your worries if you lose control of the “end zone.” In fact, the only advantage cloth diaper footballs have over disposable is that, in the event a buddy shows up once the play is in motion, he is much less likely to attempt a fumble recovery.

Other than that, disposables are clearly superior and also much easier to assemble.

Step one: Acquire a dirty diaper. If you can’t get one at home, ask around.

Step two: Remove the soiled diaper, keeping what will become your centrifuge intact. This will make or break the accuracy of your passes.

Step three: Roll your diaper football, making sure to maintain its center of gravity. Remember, it’s a lot like rolling up a stuffed cabbage: It will seem like everything won’t fit, but it will.

Step four: Warm up your throwing arm.

It’s that easy!

Oh, there is one other thing; check the integrity of your football regularly — especially before throwing “the bomb.”

You get the picture.

Average January, or So They Say by Herb Miller on 01/01/2014
Repeating the previous month, December got off to a wet start with both Government Camp and Brightwood getting soaked with more than 5 inches of rain during the first two days – courtesy of some tropical moisture.

After that an Arctic air mass moved into our area, resulting in some of the coldest temperatures in years. Starting Dec. 3, Brightwood remained below freezing until Dec. 10, bottoming out with lows of 7 degrees in Brightwood and minus-1 in Government Camp Dec. 8. Temperatures moderated during the last three weeks, but monthly averages ended well below long-term averages. Precipitation ended below average, despite the wet start, and the Mountain is desperate for snow.

The National Weather Service failed to give a clue about the Arctic air mass that moved over our area in early December – so faith in their forecasts are lowered. Their observation that sea-surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the tropical area of the Pacific Ocean continue to be average causes their outlook for our area to expect average temperatures and precipitation in January.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43 degrees, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.82 inches – including an average 9 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have ranged from a record-setting 60 degrees for January, set Jan. 4, 2004, and equaled again the next Dec. 18 and 19. Seven other years reached the 50s and one year couldn’t get above the 40s. Low temperatures had two years in the 30s, five years in the 20s, and the other three dropped into the teens. The record low of 9 was set in 1980 and 1996. The record snowfall was 29 inches, set Jan. 1, 1980 and most snowfall for the month fell during 1969 with a total of 45.9 inches. Greatest precipitation of 4.57 inches fell Jan. 3, 2007.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24, and a precipitation average of 13.25 inches – including 59 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached 60 degrees once, into the 50s five times, and into the 40s the other four years. The record high was 63 degrees set last year on Jan. 20 and also previously on Jan. 20, 1994. Two years in the past 10 had a low temperature in the 20s, two more had lows in the teens, five more in the single digits, and in 2004 a bone-chilling minus-2 degrees was read. The record low of minus-8 was set Jan. 12, 1963. The record high snowfall for January of 35 inches was measured Jan. 9, 1980, compared to the 27 inches measured last year on Jan. 29. Greatest January snowfall was 138 inches in 1962, and highest precipitation was 5.20 inches measured Jan. 2, 2009.

Episode VI -- Suspect in Custody by Max Malone, Private Eye on 01/01/2014
There’s a bullet hole in my fedora, I’m face down under my Suburban, I’m staring down the barrel of my Glock, and my neighbor Sam has Marine-crawled next to me, his cowboy hat tipped back on his head with the butt of his shotgun burrowed into his shoulder like a Tennessee tick.

We don’t speak. The Mountain darkness holds us in its arms like a mother gorilla. There’s an occasional splat of a lonely rain drop accented by a distant Greek chorus of tree frogs. And nothing.
The next cabin over is owned by Jake McCoy, the butcher at the local grocery store, and his long-suffering yet mysteriously dedicated wife, Sylvia. McCoy clunks onto his porch, bathed in the halo of his porch light. He mumbles something inaudible, apparently directed at the two reports from the hunting rifle that interrupted his otherwise ordinary evening.

Sam and I exchange similar glances.
“Do you figger McCoy’s packin’?” Sam offers.
“I hope not.”

McCoy surrenders without further complaint, goes back inside, switches off his porch light. Minutes pass. The night caves in to a new sound: a car engine starts up two roads to the west. It drives away.

“There goes your bushwhacker,” Sam says, spitting across the barrel of his shotgun. Sam could be the son of Gabby Hayes.

I retreat to my cabin, having thanked Sam with a tip of the brim of my newly ventilated fedora. I liberate a Heineken from the fridge and drop the needle on a Sinatra vinyl.

Call me a creature of tasty habit.

While Sinatra works through the lyrics of “The Lady is a Tramp” I try to weave together the frayed remnants of the McGee murder and the attempt on me – which, the more I consider it the more I begin to take offense. Someone wants me off this case – and this mortal coil. And that someone thinks I’m easy prey. And that someone just made Max’s Most Wanted List.

Sinatra swings into “Mack the Knife” simultaneously to the phone going off. It’s Stanley at Tracks. He informs me two sheriff’s detectives just arrested Izzy for murder, and marched him off in handcuffs. Izzy was certainly the unwitting new owner of Maggie’s cell phone, but just as certainly would never kill anyone – any more than Lenny would kill a mouse.

Call me crazy for Steinbeck.

I park my fedora on the coat rack next to my front door, and, sullen and hat-less, pile in my Suburban and make tracks to Tracks. The crowd never seems to change at this iconic joint with one exception: the weekly pool tournament. And this is that night. It also occurs to me that it’s one week from Maggie’s untimely departure. Throw together two pool tables and a room full of Minnesota Fats wannabees, add an artillery dump of pitchers of beer, fire up the juke box to an audio level where you’ll never hear heavy metal again without remembering this mind-numbing experience, and all you have left is a train tooting around on its tracks and Stanley and Iris wondering when I took up the devil’s game.

Call me cue-less.

“Izzy, huh?” I bellow to Stanley. He motions me around the bar through a door to his office. Even to my trained and seldom-astonished eye, Stanley’s office stops me in my, well, tracks. It takes a couple minutes to find what makes this an office, until you finally find the adding machine on the desk robustly guarded by two Lionel train engines. The rest of the office is under attack from model train parts – a coal car here, a caboose there – and a celebration of posters even a confirmed bachelor like me has never seen. Picture a raven-haired model in a black body suit, with a gash of red lipstick, draped across an engine cowcatcher, atop a grease-splattered calendar reminding us it’s 1974. Multiply that by another 20 calendars or so, change the hair color occasionally, swap train cars – my favorite was the brunette, the redhead, and the blonde in their fair-thee-well, looking seductively over the rail of a cattle car – and you have an idea about Stanley’s office.

He notices my astonishment – I don’t mask aghast that well – and he tries to rescue the moment with: “Iris never comes in here.” With that, Stanley won the day’s master of the obvious award. With the heavy metal, over-amped drum beat pounding out a constant reminder that heavy metal, over-amped drum beats do not make a song, much less give license to a percussion permit, Stanley conducted the conversation out of the station.

“After the Dicks left with Izzy (Yep, Stanley called detectives ‘Dicks’) Iris remembered something unusual about that night,” Stanley said in his clipped, matter-of-fact manner. He went on that Iris saw a guy in a hoody go into the men’s room, return, and walk out without having a drink.

“He didn’t even get into the pool tournament,” he said.
“Iris said he was petite with a distinctively feminine wiggle in his walk.” Iris, once a belly dancer of some renown, would know.

Driving back from Tracks, I pieced it together, bit by bit, like a Swainson’s thrush checking out a new bird feeder. A woman went into Tracks the night of Maggie’s murder, tossed Maggie’s cell phone in the trash in the men’s room, knowing Izzy would find it, and the investigation – the Dicks in this case – meandered onto the case like a plot in a Woody Allen movie.

Maggie was two months pregnant. That’s not a fine fiance for a governor-to-be. But maybe someone else is. Portland in the morning to the law offices of Greinke, White and Wong. Makes me wonder if Elmer Fudd is the receptionist.
 
After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Health Headlines for the Holidays by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2013
The lignans in flaxseed decrease tumor growth in estrogen positive receptor breast cancer. One study showed that eating just one flaxseed muffin a day (containing just four Tbsp. of flaxseed) led to a 34 percent decrease in breast cancer tumor growth.

Want to know more? Read Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillan, PhD. Now out-of-print it can still be found at Powell’s Bookstore and elsewhere. Newer editions have a CD included. Older editions list me and several of my colleagues as adjunctive cancer support practitioners.

Treatment of fevers is best if alternating hot and cold applications are used. Occasionally a tepid or cold application may be called for, especially if the fever is heading as high as 104.

This is not a cause for concern over brain damage unless the fever cannot be brought down, in which case, emergency measures should be undertaken. Brief immersion in a tepid bath will bring blood to the skin surface causing the fever to “break” and start to come down. For more “water cures” look for Home Remedies by the Drs. Agatha and Calvin Thrash (MDs).

Osteoarthritis pain can be helped by reducing caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Increased consumption of cherries, nuts (especially almonds), dark, leafy greens, and non-GMOd soy products. And last but not least, 1-2 Tbsps. of flax oil. For more information on this condition and many others, read The Natural Physician by Mark Stengler, ND.

“Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat,” by Rudy Rivera, MD may change how you look at the food you eat. Processed foods are nutritionless, high in chemicals and preservatives, and more likely than not, GMOd. Avoid processed foods and eat more foods in their natural packages. Like an apple with the skin on. Not really too difficult to do.

Physicist David Bohm, of both Princeton University and the University of California (Berkeley) was amazed to discover that electrons and positive ions do not behave randomly, but in fact act as if each individual electron “knew what the other trillion electrons were doing.” Talk about interconnectedness! Learn more in “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. Also out-of-print, this book can still be found at Powell’s Bookstore.

There are those of us who’ve read the book at least six times.

Michael Pollan has written many books but my favorite is “In Defense of Food.” His policy remains “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.”

This book contains detailed accounts of safe (and not so safe) foods with plenty of research to back up his choices. For instance, heart disease in America steadily increased in the 1950s, soon after margarine was introduced. Margarine is made by injecting hydrogen atoms into vegetable oils in order to make them solid at room temperature, and therefore more “shelf stable.” Unfortunately this led them to being a vehicle for ingestion of trans fats, which are much worse than saturated fats for heart conditions.

To guarantee weight loss, yes guarantee it, you need to be eating that plant-based diet mentioned by Michael Pollan. It is difficult for most Americans to get even five or six servings of vegetables (some can be fruits) per day, but if you slowly increase that to 8 -10 servings, you WILL lose weight. You will not be hungry and you will greatly reduce your susceptibility of many of our modern diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

For much more information than you would probably ever want to know read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

“The Art of Good Living” by Svevo Brooks is subtitled “Simple Steps to Regaining Health and the Joy of Life.”

This gentle and sweet book from a gentle and sweet man helps us to find some balance in a world seemingly gone mad.

Technology is constantly urging us to drive more, eat more, buy more, when in fact we need to do less of each of these if we want to survive and have the earth survive as well. Svevo reminds us that the single most important thing that determines our health is attitude.

If your attitude is shaped by technological input from TV, the Internet, and personal devices, you will constantly be badgered to sit more, eat more, and buy more.

Time to get up and move more, call a friend, and go to the bookstore to learn something new. Light a candle (soy), pray for peace, love one another, and have a lovely holiday.
Gifts From The Kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2013
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, don’t stress and spend. Invite and indulge with thoughtful homemade gifts that are also fabulous to receive.

For the neighbor/co-worker. If you are feeling festive please add crushed peppermint candies in the filling or rolled onto the outside of the filling. For adults please include a snarky gift tag - some suggestions “a little whoopee,” “made whoopee just for you,” etc.

Red velvet whoopee pies with cream cheese filling
. It’s  a little bit cake, a little bit cookie.
Heat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment
In a large bowl whisk dry ingredients:
2 Cups of all-purpose flour
2 T of unsweetened cocoa powder
½ t of baking soda
¼ t of salt
In another bowl or electric mixer cream together:
½ Cup of softened butter
1 Cup of packed brown sugar
Add in:
1 egg
1 t vanilla
½ Cup sour cream
Red food coloring (about 2 T)
Add the dry ingredients in halves and mix until smooth – do not overmix. Scoop the mixture about ¼ cup at a time onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake about 9 mins. Let it cool while you make the filling
For the filling:
1 8oz package of cream cheese-room temp
½ Cup unsalted softened butter-room temp
1 t vanilla extract
1½ Cups powdered sugar
2-3 peppermint candy canes-crushed (optional)
Whip all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer for approx 2 mins. Keep in fridge until ready to assemble. Spread a good ¼ cup onto the flat side of one whoopee pie sandwich with another and roll like a wheel into the crushed peppermint if desired.

For the cook-Homemade extracts:
So fun and easy to make. Get a bunch of small bottles, corks, stoppers, good vodka and different flavors. Include a “best if used after this date” on the tag and include a mix such as a bread, cookie or a brownie mix. Make it as gift basket putting ingredients in a mixing bowl or a baking dish, tuck in a wooden spoon and a whisk and a pretty cloth napkin.
Vanilla extract: Slice 6 vanilla beans lengthwise, place in jar, add in 2 cups of plain vodka, seal lid tight and place in a dark corner of your pantry for 3-6 months shaking the jar every week or so. Strain into bottles with a small piece of vanilla pod to garnish.
Coffee extract:  ½ cup cracked coffee beans and 2 cups of vodka.
Cinnamon: 5 sticks of cinnamon and 2 cups of vodka.
Almond: 1 cup of cracked raw almonds and 2 cups of vodka.
Lemon or orange: Peel of 4 lemons or oranges and 2 cups of vodka.
Flavored salts: Add dried herbs such as rosemary, bay leaf, dried lemon peel, etc to a nice sea salt and package in a jar with a label and ribbon.
Some other ideas: Home-made marinara and noodles, pesto, olive tapenade, etc.
A Chilling Story of Katrina by Sandra Palmer on 12/01/2013
“Five Days in Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravished Hospital” is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I’m very brave about what I read, in general, but this book kept me awake for multiple nights while reading it. The frightening decisions made by the medical staff at Memorial Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are no less than chilling. So – be warned. This compelling and well-written book is profoundly disturbing.

Sheri Fink carefully recounts the five days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Katrina as floodwaters rose, power failed and the temperatures climbed while stressed and exhausted doctors and nurses struggled to cope.

Amazingly, the medical staff designated certain fragile, desperately ill patients as last to be evacuated. After days of stress in the terrifying atmosphere in a city overwhelmed by the enormous storm’s impact, certain doctors and nurses made the decision to inject many patients with drugs to hasten or cause their deaths rather than to continue to try to evacuate them.

“Five Days of Memorial” was developed out of six years of diligent reporting by Fink who carefully uncovers the truth about what happened in those days in the wake of Katrina in a city out of control. She not only shares the stories of patients, families, investigators and medical staff but she also skillfully places their decisions within the context of modern disaster planning and triage decision-making. Potential health-care rationing is certainly a compelling, timely debate and the tragedies at Memorial Hospital that Fink so dramatically reports here provoke appropriate consideration as our nation – and the world – struggles to develop standards and ethical frameworks for decision-making when resources are scarce.

Similar challenges are encountered by medical professionals in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake and again in the U.S. after Hurricane Sandy. What are the preferred ethical schemes to ration care when many patients are so dependent upon technology no longer available when power goes out? What responsible steps should communities and medical institutions make to prepare for the unexpected?

As disturbing as ‘Five Days at Memorial” surely is, Sheri Fink raises questions that must be asked and provokes an important discussion of ethics in today’s world. An amazing book.

 Sheri Fink is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize as well as a number of other literary prizes. She is a physician and a former relief worker in disaster zones. Her first book, War Hospital, is about medical professionals under siege during a time of genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Episode V: Shots Fired by Max Malone, Private Eye on 12/01/2013
At Tracks up at the ski resort, I grab the empty chair next to Izzy, the night janitor. He cups the purloined pink cell phone in his ample paw and turns away from me. Izzy is suspicious of everyone, especially at this moment, with his new prize.

Call me unoffended.

“Nice phone, Izzy,” I offer in the most inoffensive tone I can muster – not an easy task for a private eye. He turns slightly toward me, eyes me up and down through heavy eye lids that resemble neglected manhole covers, then, in his dull way, turns away.
“Where’d you get that?” I ask, gulping down my Jameson’s as to look like a guy who drinks straight shots before lunch.
“It’s mine,” he says, ignoring my question – an easy task for Izzy.
“I can see that. Where’d you get it?” I pull my manly phone out and plunk it on the bar. “I’d kinda like to add some color to my phone conversations, maybe. Get a phone like yours.”

All this while my stomach is taking on the Irish whisky and wondering what it did to offend me. Stanley, who has been listening up to this point, walks away down the bar, throwing a grin at me. Iris follows behind Stanley, and almost winks.

Call me easy to admire.

Izzy doesn’t answer me, and it’s clear he’s not going to in this lifetime. I drop a fiver on the bar and tip my fedora on the way out.

Making tracks down the mountain, the clouds gather like notes around a Chopin nocturne. I shoot a cell call to Hope to make sure she was the one who called on Izzy’s new phone – as to guide me in. It goes to voice mail and I hang up.

I don’t do voice mail.

Spying Deputy Mike’s cruiser at Lola’s, I drop my Suburban on his dime. Inside, Mike is working his way through a cheeseburger like a timber wolf in an antelope refuge. I plop down next to him. Katrina is behind the bar and she politely drifts away like a calypso song in Jamaica.

“What’s up?” Mike offers, wiping orts from around his mouth.
“A couple things,” I say, wincing at his next attack on the burger. “Maggie’s cell phone showed up at Tracks.”
It took a frontal assault to get him off the burger.
“Izzy, the night janitor has it,” I continue.
“How do you know?”
 “I just left there. He was playing with it.”
Mike unfolds the suspicious deputy squint like a bookie with a wallet full of hundreds.
“Before you ask, apparently he accidentally hit a speed dial button and it rang on Hope’s phone.”
“Hope told you this?”
“Didn’t have to. I was in the area.”
“Mmmm,” issued over what must have been a particularly piquant pickle slice.
“And the other thing is, this caper is starting to bore me. I’m off the case.”

Call me an excellent liar. After all …

“You should be telling all this to the two detectives that have taken over the case. I’m off it as well,” Mike said, munching with delight.
“Nope,” I said flatly, standing up. “You tell ‘em.”
Mike waved me back down.
“One thing you should know, Max. The autopsy is back on the McGee woman. She was two months pregnant.”
I slumped back into my chair. Two months pregnant changed the game. There was motive in the air.
Katrina slid me a menu. She had a way about her, like a Greek siren on a rocky Aegean Sea island.

Call me a fan of Ulysses.

I quickly dismissed the burger list as Katrina handed Mike his bill. He paid up, gave a snort – was that directed at me, or just a satisfied burger after thought? As he exited, Katrina continued to stand across the bar from me.
“Do we need to talk?” I asked across the abyss.
“I don’t know. Do we?”
The calypso drum beat banged again. After a bowl of Lola’s tomato basil soup and a cold draft beer, I climbed into the Suburban. I sat there. What next? I had all but dismissed Greinke as a suspect. My early theory that he could have signed in at the mountain for a climb, backtracked to the trail where Maggie was hiking, done the dirty deed, then returned for a solo climb, a staged accident, resulting in the perfect alibi. But having seen him, he didn’t have the murder stuff. In fact, a murder of crows could be more likely. But not pregnant crows.

I had to clear my head. I fired up my rig and wheeled down the highway as splats of raindrops the size of Oldsmobile hubcaps joined in. I slipped past Hope’s house but her car was MIA. So much for clearing. I drove over to the golf course to watch unhappy duffers running for cover. I sat there for a long time.

Call me easily amused.

With dusk dropping its cloth on the mountain community like an overworked concierge, I bounced up the dirt road to my cabin. One step out the door and my fedora was ripped from my head, followed immediately by the report of a hunting rifle. Just as quickly, a second shot drilled into the metal of my Suburban just above the door opening. I hit the dirt, reached inside my jacket, and unlocked my Glock. Looking in the direction of the shots revealed nothing but indifferent cedar trees and moss covered rocks. Nature never gets unduly excited. I peered wildly, anxious to pursue, but respectful of a hunting rifle in the hands of someone who just went for the kill shot.

I heard my neighbor Sam clambering out his front door. Without looking, I knew he had his 12-gauge cradled like the leading lady in a nativity scene.

I’ve had that fedora for about fifteen hockey seasons. The chances of me being off this case were about even money with Albert Schweitzer abandoning a leper colony.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Normal December Will Descend by Herb Miller on 12/01/2013
The first three weeks of November had fairly typical weather with rain most days and moderate temperatures.

Then a dramatic change followed after a cold air mass moved down from Canada and an upper level ridge diverted precipitation to the north, resulting in an unseasonal string of sunny days that extended through the end of the month.

But the dry weather was a disappointment to lift operators who had hoped to have all operations functioning for the Thanksgiving holidays after some impressive snowfalls earlier in the month.
The National Weather Service reports there has been little change from the atmospheric and sea temperature readings taken a month ago and again expects our area to have about average precipitation and temperatures for December.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42 degrees, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 11.06 inches – including an average 6.1 inches of snow.
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s without exception.
The record high of 56 occured Dec. 18, 2004.

Low temperatures dropped into the 20s during eight years, and once each into the teens and single digits.

The record low of 2 degrees was set Dec. 21, 1990. The record snowfall for the month was 48.8 inches, set way back in 1968, but was severely tested when 43.75 inches was measured in 2008.
Greatest precipitation fell during the infamous year of the flood, 1964, when 28.09 inches was recorded.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 13.92 inches – including 52 inches of snow.
During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 50s twice, and the other eight years settled for the 40s.

The record high was 65 degrees set Dec. 2, 1956. Only one year in the past 10 had a low temperature in the 20s. There were four with single digits, and the other five had lows in the teens.
 
The record low of minus-14 was set during that flood year on Dec. 17, 1964.
The record high snowfall for December of 26 inches occurred only five years ago on Dec. 18, 2008.
Record high snowdepth during December of 114 inches was measured on both the 30th and 31st of 1984.
It's All About Sugar by Victoria Larson on 11/02/2013
The news is not all good. Regular readers of my column know that I like to insert some history into my columns as it serves as perspective. In the late 1800s spa goers went to rejuvenate themselves with rest, eating mostly vegetarian meals, and drinking mineral waters. That mineral water contained carbon dioxide to make it fizzy. Mineral waters are still natural and fizzy. But today most people are drinking 12-64 ounce sodas instead. Each 12-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar!

Now we have sugar in another form known as “high fructose corn syrup” or HFCS. It is cheaper to manufacture and sweeter than cane sugar or beet sugar. It is in many processed foods from sodas to soup. The United States is the highest consumer of HFCS. To top it off, HFCS is primarily made with genetically modified corn. In 2011, America spent $32 billion on sweets. That’s a whopping 25 pounds per person, per year. If you cut back on sugar you could afford more organic food.

Experiments in 1960 showed that high consumption of sugar led to high fat and insulin in the blood. These are risk factors for heart disease and obesity. But the sugar lobby declared that heart disease and obesity were the result of saturated fats in the diet. That may have been a good guess, but it turns out to not be entirely correct. Soft drinks, candy and processed foods made with sugar break down in the liver to fructose which produces the category of fats known as triglycerides.

High triglycerides lead to a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X, which causes obesity that specifically lands at the waist level. If Metabolic Syndrome is not treated early it can lease to Type ll Diabetes. The National Institute of Health says that one-third of Americans have the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome. Look around you, it may be more. Look down, it may be you.

HFCS was introduced into the American diet around 1970 and things have been getting steadily worse since then. Sugar, in any form, causes oxidative stress to the body. You age faster. Anti-oxidants, in the right amounts and mostly from foods, decrease oxidative stress. You live healthier and longer.

Up to 21 percent of the food consumed in the United States is inflammatory food, most of it in the form of fast foods. Again, look around you. There’s a fast food restaurant on every corner and weird food ads everywhere. In Costa Rica (for instance) there are no fast food places and instead you can find a natural remedy pharmacy on every corner providing homeopathic remedies (more about this in another column).

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you will be Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups. So confidant of their success, ads have already been purchased for the Super Bowl. Should this even be a news story when each newscaster states “I can’t wait to try it!”

What are you eating? What are you feeding your kids. We all have opiate receptors in our brains.
These receptors respond to sugar as well as drugs. In other words, our drug problem may be related to our sugar consumption. We live in a world that is flooded with sugar. But our bodies have not evolved to our increased consumption.

In 1990 only 5 percent of the world population had high blood pressure. Now 1/3 of the population worldwide has high blood pressure. In 1980 153 million people had Type ll Diabetes. By 2011 that number threatened to top 347 million worldwide. Yes, attitudes change. Cereal was touted as a “health food” by the likes of Dr. John Kellogg in the late 1800s. Now we have more than 2,000 different kinds of cereal. Hardly any are free of sugars in some form. Do you think we might be consuming too much sugar?

Clarksdale, Mississippi is a big town in the “fattest county in the fattest state in the United States.” And the U.S. is the fattest industrialized nation in the world. But Clarksdale is concerned, so they are making changes. Teach the children and you change the world. The soda machines, snack machines, and deep fat fryers have been removed from Clarksdale schools. They no longer serve PopTarts and pizza at school breakfasts and lunches. The kids are proud of their new found health knowledge.

We can all learn to do better. I tend to agree with 90 percent of what Dr. Oz says on his wildly popular TV show. Sometimes I make the grandkids watch with me if I think it’s something they should know more about. A recent “game” on the Dr. Oz show was about which foods should be consumed for which conditions. My youngest grandson got all the answers right. He’s five years old. We can all be open to learning this vital information.

Keep reading my columns.
A Tale of Two Turkeys by Taeler Butel on 11/02/2013
Thanksgiving is a time of gathering.  I stretch the holiday into two days. My family and I will typically go to the home of whichever family member has the biggest television the day of, bringing our chosen side and a few days before I will cook a full thanksgiving meal and have an open house for friends and neighbors.

This gives me a good excuse to have leftovers in my fridge and try out new recipes on my friends.
Living by my no-stress all-fun rule I cook the desserts and breads and freeze a few days ahead and prep the sides the day before leaving a full day to devote to the star ~ the turkey!

I make a traditional turkey to display and carve at the table and I have my butcher cut one into pieces like a chicken.  I braise the cut one on the BBQ then serve it already sliced and on a platter. This makes a lot of leftover turkey which can be stored in big ziplock bags with enough broth to cover (make sure it’s completely cooled before doing this). Use this for sandwiches, turkey pot pie, pastas, burritos, etc.

I use fresh local birds organically raised  and I always brine
For the brine (2 turkeys) 1 whole one cut
1 med/large sized cooler
Large bowl
Bags of ice
1 gallon apple cider
2 oranges sliced
3 cups salt ( I use kosher)
2 cups brown sugar
6 cinnamon sticks broken
6 bay leaves
½ cup pepper corns
2 twigs rosemary
3 cups boiling water
In the large bowl add all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly until salt and sugar have dissolved.  Pour into a cooler and let cool, add the turkeys with enough water to cover – cover the turkeys with ice. Brine 8 hours adding more ice when needed.
Rinse the birds with cold water, pat dry with clean tea towels.  Dispose of brine.

Ingredients for cooking both birds
2 apples sliced
Cheese cloth
Olive oil
10 slices bacon (optional)
1 bottle dry white wine or apple juice
1 quart chicken stock
2 sticks butter
2 onions chopped
Salt & pepper
Fresh thyme & rosemary – 2-3 twigs for each turkey
Bay leaves
For the cut turkey brush with olive oil and salt and pepper each side of the meat using about a tablespoon of each. Sear the turkey, place in a large pan and set in a 450 oven or a BBQ on high. Cook the meat for 10 mins and flip pieces over cooking an additional 10 mins.  Add sliced bacon if using, add onion, apple, bay leaves  and herbs  around the pieces, add in enough chicken stock and wine or juice to cover ½ way up the meat. Turn the temp down to 300 and continue to cook until meat is very tender and “falling off the bone” for about 2 hours depending on size, adding more liquid when necessary. Take out turkey and the apples, onions & herbs then deglaze the pan with more liquid if necessary and reduce over two burners until thickened – you may add a slurry of 1 T each cornstarch and water and bring to a boil to help thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the whole turkey
In a med size saucepan melt the butter, add 1 cup of wine or juice and the fresh herbs. Turn off heat and lay the cheesecloth in the pan.
Stuff the cavity of the bird with apples, onions & bay leaves, brush the turkey with olive oil and salt and pepper generously, then lay the buttered cheesecloth over the bird. Bake at 450 for 30 mins and reduce heat to 300 basting with more butter once or twice. Bake an additional 2-3 hours until juices run clear. Follow above directions for the gravy
Special Session by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 11/02/2013
Governor Kitzhaber called for a special session to start September 30 to deal with what he determined to be unfinished and needed changes that were not dealt with in the 2013 long session. The main issue was PERS reform and greater school funding. The governor toured the state to garner support for the special session. Then, he called in the legislative leaders of each caucus to present his “Grand Bargain” and the leaders began to compromise on an agreement that both sides could live with.

When I first saw the governor’s “Grand Bargain” I felt there were parts that I supported, but also parts I did not support. I also realized that no side of the aisle was happy about the “Grand Bargain.” It was then I realized that if no one was really happy with everything, it was probably a good compromise!

Then, the real work began.  The governor and caucus leaders had agreed in concept, and that means that each caucus leader told the Governor that they can supply enough yes votes to pass each bill. Keep in mind that the governor said that the whole package passes or nothing goes forward. 

I arrived in Salem on Sunday evening, to find that the deal was off. It was evident that the Senate could come to agreement, but there was trouble on the House side. The governor and leadership members spent all day Monday in a room together and compromised more details. Same thing on Tuesday. It became clear that it was time to vote or go home.

We voted on Wednesday.  The bills passed on the Senate side, got a little hung up on the House side, but eventually passed on the House side. 

Was everyone happy with the “Grand Bargain”? No. Individually every legislator can find something they did not agree with.

I feel that our job is to legislate for what is best for our state, not to legislate to get re-elected.
You should be proud that your state leaders and legislators all did that this special session.

I only wish they could accomplish this in Washington DC! 

Thank you readers.
Special Session by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 11/02/2013
On Monday September 30t, the Oregon Legislature assembled in Salem at the request of Governor Kitzhaber for what was advertised as a one-day Special Session.

We would be considering a package of five bills that had earlier been approved by our bipartisan legislative leadership. The bills were designed to address the growing unfunded liability of the Public Employee Retirement System, raise targeted revenues that would be earmarked for specific public sector investments, provide tax relief for many small businesses, and provide certainty for our agricultural industry that decisions about most farming practices would remain at the state level.
It soon became obvious this would be no one-day session.

Although our leaders had agreed on the framework of the package of legislation, discussions were continuing about the details within the bills even after we arrived in Salem ready to go to work.

Because the package included some revenue raising measures, passage of the bills would require bipartisan support.

The Oregon constitution requires a 3/5’s majority to support any legislation that increases revenue.
Although Democrats enjoy majorities in the legislature, they can’t raise taxes unilaterally.

My House Republican Caucus insisted on having enough time to fully review all of the bills before they came to the floor for a vote. None of us wanted to be in the situation of having to “pass the bill before we could understand what was in it.”

In the end, it was Wednesday, October 2, before we voted on the package. All the bills passed, some with the slimmest of majorities. Even though I disagreed with some of the components of the package I supported all of the bills because I believe the sum total of the legislation will be beneficial to Oregon.

Even though there was a modest increase in tax rates for large corporations, we were able to secure one of the largest tax cuts for small business in the state in a long time.

The increases in revenue will be specifically targeted to help school districts reduce class sizes, keep college tuition from increasing, provide additional resources for seniors, and dedicate sustainable investments in mental health services.

By making modifications to the cost of living allowance for current and future PERS beneficiaries (while protecting lower income recipients), employer rates will be reduced which will allow schools, counties and cities to keep more of the resources in their budgets to invest as they choose.

And now, across Oregon, family farms have the certainty of knowing that they will have a level playing field regarding the types of crops they plant and harvest.

In the end, I think it’s more accurate to refer to the package of bills that was passed as an “exchange” rather than a “bargain.”

Each party had to give something in order to get something. It was a true exercise in bipartisanship – something I think is very important as leaders in Oregon during a time where we have a gridlock at our nation’s capital.
Rowling Pens a London Mystery by Sandra Palmer on 11/02/2013
I was pretty tough on J.K. Rowling in last month’s review of “A Casual Vacancy” so, just to be fair I’m letting you know that her next effort (under a “pen name” as Robert Galbraith) is much more worthy of your time.

There had been rumors years ago that Ms. Rowling was writing a detective novel and it turns out to be a good read. Not the best mystery I’ve ever read but a good one, just the same. And it’s good enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing the main characters in this novel return for future installments of crime solving in London.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” follows a classic detective formula with an investigator who is a unique character having returned from military action missing a leg and dealing with the emotional aftermath of combat.
 
Strike is an unlikely detective – a large but not unattractive fellow struggling with his prosthesis while he hits the streets of London to find the murderer of a celebrity model who fell to her death on a cold winter night in a manner that might suggest suicide.

In fact, the public and the police have already decided that it was a mysterious suicide.

But Strike is hired to find a murderer that he is soon convinced does exist.

As Strike’s investigation moves forward we learn more about who he is as we also piece together the final days of super model Lula.

There are many players in the mystery and potential suspects to examine. There’s Lula’s drug-addicted but toxically attractive boyfriend Duffield; Rochelle, Lula’s downtrodden mate from rehab; a famous designer and close friend, Guy Some who loved Lula but profited greatly from her aura; her friendly rival and fellow model Ciara; scheming relatives with intertwined financial, personal and business motives; her birth mother always ready for a pay-out and her scheming, social climbing downstairs neighbors just to name a few.

Strike is more than ably assisted in his detective work by a temporary secretary, Robin, who we can easily imagine becoming his permanent side-kick.

While Strike is at times consumed with his unraveling personal life, Robin capably assists the murder investigation while simultaneously piecing together what is really going on with her boss.

The whole tale wraps up in typical detective novel style as Strike explains how he managed to piece the clues together and find the culprit guilty of pushing poor Lula off a balcony in the middle of the night.
It’s a satisfying read that leaves us looking forward to the next investigative adventure for Strike and his inquisitive secretary.
Tracks Up The Mountain by Max Malone, Private Eye on 11/02/2013
Paul Greinke, the hotsy-totsy Portland attorney, had been rescued off Mount Hood and ushered by ambulance to a Portland hospital. His fiancé, Maggie McGee, was in the morgue, slowed down considerably by a bullet in her head. I had been to that crime scene and walked away with more questions than answers.

Congress has nothing on me.

I wheeled my Suburban onto the highway, headed to Portland. I wanted to see this Greinke guy face-to-face. I contacted an old friend by cell on the drive, asking him what he knew about Greinke. My pal, Frank Strong – formerly Feral Strong of porno film fame – worked in the attorney general’s office. He was a researcher with the intensity of a mongoose at a cobra convention. His previous occupation served him well.

Frank filled me in. Greinke had Marty Feldman eyes on the governor’s office. There was a rumor around town that Maggie, his dead fiancé, had the good looks that weren’t going to hurt his chances. Frank figured Greinke for a rank opportunist, with no more business in the governor’s office than an impotent star in his own former profession.

So my budding theory that Greinke had his hand in Maggie’s murder was drooping like an October sunflower. My search for a motive resembled a teenager’s dream of a cure for acne. But I still had to see that guy.

I wasn’t disappointed. Greinke was on the front steps of the hospital, his leg in a walking boot, leaning on a pair of crutches like a second-string running back suddenly in possession of a reason not to play.

He was handsome, but a closer look revealed the good looks disappearing into an untrustworthy mouth and a hopelessly weak chin. A powerful water buffalo mired in a pool of mud came to mind. It was also apparent that life had come too easily for him. Earned or not – and probably not – he was privileged.

He droned on before the local TV cameras – was that actually a tear in his eye? – like a university president at orientation day. Disgusting as he was, he didn’t seem to have the gravitas of a murderer. Killers are either crazy, confident, or cold. My French secretary calls it sang-froid. He was none of these things. Besides, his Gortex climbing jacket was one size too small.

This caper was being orchestrated like a Beethoven concerto, and it was time to cue the cellos.

Headed back to the mountain cabin – Tom Waits wailing on a CD reminding me a couple nights with Ricki Lee Jones can mess a guy up – with a call to let Deputy Mike know I’d be snooping around the case, then a drive to pick up Hope at her place. I needed a dish of sorbet to wash away the day.

The next morning I have the coffee on and four eggs in the pot to boil.
Hope rises.
“What are you doing to those eggs?” she purrs, with a Persian edge.
“Boiling them.”
She grabs the pot.
“You don’t boil eggs, silly.”

No one’s perfect.

I swirled my toast around the sticky yellow tops of the over-easy eggs. It wasn’t like Hope’s eggs were inedible. They just weren’t mine. Hope’s cell phone ring tone erupted like a lava explosion in Pompeii. She fumbled into her purse, picked up the phone, and stared at me for help.

“It’s Maggie,” she exclaimed, cocking her head to one side like a cocker spaniel. I grabbed the phone. Caller ID proved her point. The call was coming from Maggie’s phone. I engaged the call, saying nothing. There was nothing at the other end but a rustling of clothes and the odd toot of a train. There was only one place that could be coming from – it was Stanley and Iris’ joint called Tracks, which was located up the mountain at the ski resort. Stanley was a retired railroad engineer, and he had a model train that circled the wall of the joint, issuing an incessant tooting that always reminded me of the time I was trapped in an Italian railway station.

But that’s another story.

“I have to see a man about a train,” I told Hope, handing back her phone. Despite her protests, I deposited her at her house, not bothering with a receipt.

At Tracks, the late morning crowd was hunkering in for the long day. Six men, all with elbows planted on the bar like potted palms, stared straight ahead over the tops of their shot glasses. I recognized one of them, Izzy, the hulking night janitor. The others faded into the scene like extras in a Fellini movie.Stanley smiled at me, a little puzzled at my morning arrival, and pulled his silver locks away from his forehead. His wife, Iris, was at the far end of the bar. She beamed and sidled toward me, as comfortable in her manner as a belly dancer – which she happened to have been in a life prior to Stanley.

Before I could ask if anyone had been making calls from the bar, a cell phone rang. Izzy, puzzled as usual in his slow-witted way, pulled a pink cell phone from his pants pocket. He watched it ring, seemingly pleased with the sound but uninterested in the call itself.

“Is that pink phone Izzy’s?” I asked in a muted voice.
“Izzy doesn’t have a phone, especially a pink one,” Iris intoned.
Stanley, wise in the ways of a barman, slid over to Izzy.
“Is that your new phone?” he asked.
Izzy nodded, listening proudly to its ring.

Maggie was dead, but not her cell phone. It was time for action.

I ordered a shot of Jameson’s.

Toot Toot.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Average November Awaits by Herb Miller on 11/02/2013
The remnants of typhoon Pabuk can take credit (or blame) for Brightwood getting soaked with nearly 6 inches of rain during the last three days of September, resulting in a monthly total precipitation of 11.22 inches and approaching the record of 12.61 inches set in 1959.

Government Camp was also in Pabuk’s path and ended the month with a precipitation total of 9.73 inches.

October started off reasonably close to seasonal weather, although the low of 32 degrees in Brightwood set Oct. 9 was one of the earliest freezing temperatures on record.

From Oct. 13 through the end of the month our weather was dominated by a large dome of high pressure named a “rex block” which was centered over the Pacific Northwest, resulting in sunny, dry weather.

The high temperature of 75 in Brightwood Oct. 22 kept company with a high of 74 set Oct. 25, 2003 – both of which are highly unusual for so late in the year.

Temperatures turned noticeably cooler during the last week, but remained dry.

The National Weather Service is reporting that nearly average conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean and expects the temperature and precipitation during November in our area to be near average.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48 degrees, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.79 inches, including 2.5 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, four years had highs in the 50s and six had highs in the 60s. The record high of 70 was set on both Nov. 4, 1980 and Nov. 2, 1981. During the last 10 years, four years had lows in the 20s, four had lows in the 30s, and two years in the teens, including a low of 13 set Nov. 24, 2010 – just 1 degree above the record. The record precipitation of 24.44 inches was set in 2006. The record snowfall of 25.5 inches was set in 1985.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during November is 41 degrees, the average low is 29,  with an average precipitation amount of 12.16 inches, which includes an average 32 inches of snow. Highs in the 60s occured four times and in the 50s six times during the last 10 years. The record high of 70 was Nov. 3, 1981. The low of 9 degrees in 2006 was the only single digit reading during the last 10 years. The other years were evenly divided in the teens and 20s. The record snowfall of 20 inches fell three years ago on Nov. 18, 2010, followed with another 19 inches the next day.
Greatest snowdepth of 70 inches was measured Nov. 26, 1973, but the snowy November in 2010 had 61 inches on the 28th and 29th.
Dragonfly and More by Geoff Berteau on 11/02/2013
It’s not just breakfast and lunch any more.

The Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery assumed the space previously known as the Wy’east Cafe & Bakery.

“I am going to transform the upstairs area on Fridays and Saturdays into a casual dining area,” said owner Rori Klingbeil. “Starting Nov. 8 dining options include dishes like prime rib, and vegetarian options suich as eggplant parmesan or pastas.”

A former bartender and waitress, Klingbeil knows her way around the kitchen and will be doing all the baking herself. She and her mother owned a catering business, and her passion for cooking was enhanced in 2005 when spending time with families in France and Spain, plus attending cooking schools.

For now the menu remains the same, but Klingbeil indicated she would improve on anything that needs it, and is already working on introducing gluten-free products. There will still be specialty homemade breads and she has added artisan jams.

“I’ve put in all leather furniture in the upstairs area so skiers can come in with their snow gear on,” she said. “It will be a comfy area to lounge around in, watch sports on the 60-inch flat screen TV, or play a game of pool.”

To make the area feel more like home, Klingbeil is inviting customers to bring in a picture of themselves which will be put onto the “Wall of Pictures” with comment cards available for patrons to add their suggestions.

For early risers on the Mountain Express, a nutritious breakfast is available from the $5 Grab & Go menu – such as a breakfast burrito or sandwich plus a cup of coffee. Energy drinks are also available.
The cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with special dining starting Nov. 8 on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 p.m. Pool turnaments are held on Sundays.

The Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery is located in the Mt.Hood RV Village in Welches, and can be reached at 503-622-2400.

Designers Hair
Designers Hair Center has new digs.

“The move is an opportunity to keep my business open and operating for many years to come,” said owner Autumn Rockafellor in an email to The Mountain Times. “It is the same staff as before and we look forward to serving the community.”

Rockafellor added that clients can expect the same services and customer care.

The only changes will be to the massage/spa services, as they will now be available by appointment only.

All other services are in place, including manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials and massage.
“New clients can expect friendly, professional and quality care,” Rockafellor wrote. “And we welcome all new clients.”

The new location is at 66676 Hwy. 26 in Welches, next door to the Whistle Stop.

Barb Clare

CCB Financial Services, located at the Clackamas County Bank in Sandy, announced that Barb Clare has joined their team.

Clare has extensive experience in financial services for more than 30 years and will head up the effort to expand insurance offerings.

Clare is responsible for Medicare solutions along with individual and employer sponsored health insurance plans – as well as helping clients with ObamaCare. Phone: 503-668-2575.

by Frances Berteau/MT

Do You Want to be a Screaming Zombie? by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2013
How many zombies will we see on the streets this Halloween? Even more scary is how many zombies will still be at home? If you want to be a screaming zombie, here’s how you can do it. Start by not getting enough sleep or at least get poor quality sleep so you do not wake refreshed and ready to face a new day. Lack of sleep not only makes people edgy, it has been shown to increase your risk of weight gain, diabetes, and lead to a shorter lifespan.
 
So instead of praying for peace in the world and gentleness, you can start your day with the “let-the-stress-begin” attitude and then follow through. I know the mornings are hectic what with getting off to work or getting kids to school. You can make it even more stressful by watching the news. Seems like we have an increase in zombies running around these days.
 
Since you are tired, have a few cups of coffee, or even worse, buy a 64 ounce soda on the way to work. That’ll cost you money, increase stress levels as well as cortisol levels (which will increase your weight) and leave you even more jittery and ready to scream. You can complicate matters by having a simple carb breakfast either from the fast “food” place or maybe just a white bread bagel and cream cheese at home.
 
You may have started your texting by now but I hope even you zombies out there aren’t doing this while you are driving. With many texts it is hard to determine the tone and therefore often the intent and this can lead to increased anger towards those who meant no harm.  Especially since you don’t have time to clarify intent while on the way to work. I guess the stress has begun then, huh?
 Becoming something of a zombie is easy if your job requires that you sit all day in front of a computer screen under fluorescent lights. You’ll turn as green as the screen, and the lights make you look. To guarantee zombie-ness, make sure you work through lunch so you end up being snippy with co-workers.
 
Drive a long ways through traffic, where I know there are a lot more zombies on the road This will solidify your own path toward becoming a zombie. Since you will be too tired and stressed to cook dinner once you get home, you could either stop for fast “food” for dinner or skip it and just have some alcohol to fill you up.
 
Worry more about the house being clean than how the kids are doing in school and even your kids will admire your ability to become more like a zombie. Now for some downtime, spend the rest of the evening in your “brain-sucking” recliner in front of the TV, perhaps with some more junk food to see you through and guarantee that you gain some more weight.
 OK, so this was all obviously completely facetious. However, there are people out there who are actually living like this. And yes, some of them are on the roads. You know how to make the changes that will keep you from becoming a screaming zombie yourself. Get enough rest, Eat a decent breakfast, Pray more so you can scream less. Unless it urgently affects you (floods, earthquakes, disasters), turn off the news after the weather report.
 
If your job does have you in front of a computer all day, set an alarm to get up once an hour and walk about. Outside would be great but even just moving about the office would be a step in the right direction, pun intended. Cook a week’s worth of dinners on your day off so that there is always something nutritious and ready waiting for you in case you really do have to negotiate traffic for an hour. Crock pots and oven-to-table cookware are made for this venture, even if you live alone.
 If you still have kids at home please understand that the world they live in is more stressful than the era you or I grew up in. Studies show that even young children have more psychological stress than many adults did when they first considered themselves to be adults! Spend some quiet time with the kids and it’ll calm you down too. Put away phones, TV, and other electronic devices while connecting with your kids and during dinner.
 
Make sure you actually sit down to eat at a table as many times a week as you can. Not doing so actually increases your chances of gaining weight. And the children too, unless they are out playing sports. So kids, have a Happy Halloween and go ahead and be a zombie if you want. But adults, put on a costume once a year if you’d like, but let’s work on the habits that make us into screaming zombies. We do know what to do.
October Oddities by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2013
I am glad to share a couple of new recipes I’ve tried with you. There are some interesting twists and one crazy cookie even my uber picky son loved. Give them a try ~ You may like them you will see. You may like them in a tree.

Meatloaf Marsala
This recipe is tasty, simple and healthy. The sauce takes the most work but is so worth it! Instead of mashed potatoes serve with creamy polenta.
20 oz pkg lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs  ( I save the “Butts” off of the ends in the freezer and zip through the food processor)
1 T chopped garlic
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t each salt & pepper
¼ cup milk
In a large bowl add the crumbs and the milk. Mix in all of the other ingredients gently with a fork or your hands. Free form onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 deg. for 45 mins until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and let cool 20 mins before slicing. Feel free to use beef, pork or vegetarian options for the turkey.
For the Sauce:
10 oz pkg baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
1 heaping T flour
2 cups marsala cooking wine
Heat oil and butter over med heat in a large skillet, add mushrooms and brown for about 8 mins. Add in flour and stir. Cook about 1 minute, add in wine and stir until flour has dissolved. Cook until thickened. Pour over meat loaf slices.

Creamy Polenta
1 cup fine-grain polenta
1½ cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
4 T butter
1 t salt
Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the polenta and stir to coat evenly. Add the stock and half-and-half. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, about 15-20 minutes until the polenta has thickened to a very creamy texture. Stir in cheese Season to taste with salt and serve hot.

Crazy Cookies
No butter, sugar or flour~
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 t vanilla extract
¼ cup almond or coconut milk unsweetened
½ cup honey
2 T almond butter (peanut butter works in a pinch)
2 eggs
¼ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl process the oats until they are a coarse flour, then place in a large bowl with the salt and baking powder. Next drain, rinse and process the beans with the milk until the consistency is like peanut butter, add in the eggs and honey and almond butter and pulse until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and stir in the chocolate chips. If the mixture is runny just give it a minute. Scoop using a small ice cream disher onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for about 14 mins.

Taeler Butel writes exclusive for The Mountain Times

Rowling Aims at Adult Audience by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2013
Many of us with some degree of book obsession are aware that J.K.Rowling had a tough life before her incredible success as the author of the Harry Potter series. Stories are told of Ms. Rowling composing much of the early books while sitting in various coffee shops to escape the chill of her modest apartment while on public assistance as a single mom.

Ms. Rowling later shared that during this time in her life she was as “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”

While reading “A Casual Vacancy”, Ms. Rowing’s first book for an adult audience and her first novel since the Harry Potter series, it is clear to me that Ms. Rowling absorbed a great deal of small town Britain’s self-centered pettiness while overhearing conversations in those coffee shops.

And, as a person who needed public assistance to survive her own life challenges and as a person of modest means in those days who was looked down upon by snobby, small-minded folks who were more fortunate, it is clear that Rowling has a lot she wants to say about her experience.

It’s also clear that the author will never join the ranks of those who worry about the image a needed methadone clinic might create in a small community or those who want to disassociate themselves from public housing developments and their less-than-idyllic scenery without sympathy for those must live there.

However, for the reader of “A Casual Vacancy”, this novel full of puffed-up and self-obsessed small town characters, the reading experience is less pleasure and more work. The characters are almost entirely depressing with little humor or redemption.

We meet Gavin who realizes after Barry’s death that Barry was truly his best friend and who finds himself attracted to Barry’s widow. Howard Mollison, is a puffed up, arrogant – and obese – local business owner who opposed  the now-deceased councilor’s social awareness initiatives and who views the “casual vacancy” created by the death as a huge political opportunity.

We meet Krystal Weeden, a rough young girl dealing with a whole host of personal issues that starkly illustrate the challenges of drugs, abuse and poverty in the projects.

Kay Bawden is a social worker who moved to Pagford to pursue a frustrating romantic entanglement with her beautiful but resentful teenage daughter. Two teen boys – Fats and Andrew – are caught up in rebelling against the petty politics of their parents while seeking to find life direction in the small village. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast of characters are just as discouraging.

If there is a positive message in the book it is in the realization that one person – in this case, the just deceased Barry Fairbrother – can have an enormous impact for good in a community.

Krystal Weedon’s ability to survive in spite of so very many family obstacles is also compelling while ultimately tragic.

But, in the big picture, Ms. Rowling’s novel is just depressing without being compelling.
Episode III: The Scene of the Crime by Max Malone, Private Eye on 10/01/2013
The Portland attorney, Paul Greinke, was missing on Mount Hood. His fiancé, Maggie McGee was off to the morgue. The bachelorette party had broken up. Deputy Mike had asked me to take a look at the scene of the crime. But still I hung around Lola’s joint with as much business as a misplaced spleen in a med school lab.

Ahh. Hope remains. Hope with all her angles. Hope brushing up against me like Cleopatra teasing a basket full of snakes.

“I’ve never had anyone die before,” Hope said, switching into seductive suffrage. “I look around and something is missing.”

No kidding. Like my resistance.

A chap knows when he’s hooked. He can try to spit the lure, but ultimately realizes he’s headed for the net. Or the frying pan. But like a trout drowning in trustworthiness, he tends not to think that far ahead.

I exchanged phone numbers with Hope, saying I’d get back to her about that hiring deal once I checked out where Maggie had been shot. I feigned just enough professional indifference to make my escape. Prison breaks have nothing on Max Malone.

Back to Tony’s for dinner. The rain had knocked off for the night, but sadly so had the new redhead behind the bar. I worked through a steak and two glasses of Pinot Noir – both a tad too chewy – paid up, and fled back to my cabin like a swallow winging away to Capistrano.

I was up early, two hard-boiled eggs that reminded me of me, a pot of coffee, and out the door.

Exits are my thing.

It was a two-mile hike from the trailhead to the scene of the crime. There was nothing in it for me. To me, a hike is taken on a sidewalk with city lights winking at me, a lanky woman clicking toward me on high heels refusing to break eye contact, a cozy pub on every corner, you get the idea. Keep your conifers, I’ll take concrete.

Call me a man with an end game.

The morning was agreeable enough, the freshly soaked soil yielded to the footprint, when I overtook a couple from Seattle – yep, they confessed that right off – and they figured to accompany me. Casting furtive glances at the wife, making certain the husband saw me, he suddenly realized he’d forgotten something back at the car. It might have been a gun, I thought, then tossed the notion aside remembering they were from Seattle.

The scene was easily found. There were still a few strands of crime tape attached to a tree, and there was a man walking around taking photos. He was slightly built, lost in a safari jacket, probably 40 but looked 18.

“What are you shooting?” I asked, making certain a layer of mirth splattered on the phrase.
“A crime scene.”
“You must be that Mountain Times chap.”
“Yes. Nigel Best.” His small hand reached out. I took it gingerly, not wanting to add to the crime scene.
“Max Malone.”
“Yeah. The private detective. I’ve heard of you.”
I nodded, not much caring for the “detective” part.

I studied Nigel and came up empty. He was as out-of-place in the woods as Hansel looking for signs of Gretel.

I stepped around Nigel and circled the perimeter of the scene which had been the final resting place of Maggie McGee. There was something odd about it – almost as odd as why fashion designers have such skinny models. Nigel tucked his camera under his arm. “So what do you make of it?”

“Something’s wrong,” I said. “If I killed you here, why in the world would I leave you on the path rather than drag you out into the woods?”
“Right. Whoever they were, they wanted the body found.” Nigel actually snapped his fingers.
“I have to get back,” I said. Like an around-the-world baggage ticket, I was on the case.

I departed with a private-eye salute of my fedora, spying the Seattle couple who, on seeing me walking their way, suddenly decided they had a hike that required abandonment. At a coffee shop in Seattle they would pay as much attention to me as a seasoned traveler would give a tambourine player in a pink robe at the airport.

But the Mountain ain’t Seattle.

As I meandered back along the hiking trail my mind was as crowded with questions as a narrow street in Pamplona in July. Why was Maggie attacked? After all, she was toting a .38 Smith & Wesson – according to her good friend and rapidly becoming mine, Hope – and had it holstered in plain view. Why was there no sign of a struggle? Why was Maggie’s body left at the edge of the path, instead of being dragged off into the woods? Why had her fiance decided to climb Mount Hood on the same day?

Questions have a way of getting to me – like the annoying knucklehead next to you at an outdoor concert who knows the words to all the songs. You have to do something about it. A swift elbow to the ribs is a good start.

Call it inspiration.

I wasn’t looking forward to what was ahead of me. I would have to call my secretary, Francoise, and clue her in that I was working undoubtedly, again, without a fee. I had intentions concerning Hope, but charging her was not one of them.

The radio in my rig informed me Paul Greinke had been plucked off the mountain – alive as an attorney ever gets. It was time to bake a tort or two.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Wet October Looms by Herb Miller on 10/01/2013
The pleasant summer weather extended into the first two weeks of September, highlighted by the hottest day of the summer. The 92-degree reading Sept. 11 marked the first day this summer to reach 90 in Brightwood – compared to an average total of seven 90-plus days.

Autumn arrived Sept. 21 and our weather followed suit with fall-like conditions that moderated slightly later in the week, but we are assured the fire season has ended.

Both Brightwood and Government Camp had low temperature averages about 5 degrees higher than normal. Everything considered, we couldn’t have asked for better summer weather.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have about average temperatures during October but precipitation is expected to be above average.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low of 42 and a precipitation average of 6.49 inches. During the last 10 years, seven years had highs in the 70s and three had highs in the 60s. The record high of 91 was set on both Oct. 1, 1987 and Oct. 10, 1991. During the last 10 years, eight had lows in the low 30s, and the other two had lows in the 20s, including the record low of 26 set Oct. 31, 2003. The record precipitation of 14.67 inches was set just last year. The only measurable snowfall in more than 35 years was a 7-inch total measured on Oct. 31, 1994.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during October is 53 degrees, the average low is 36, with an average precipitation amount of 6.99 inches, which includes an average 5.l4 inches of snow. Highs in the 70s occurred six times during the last 10 years, with the other four settling for the 60s. The record high of 83 was set Oct. 13, 1991. Eight of the last 10 years had a low temperature in the 20s, the other two were 19 and last year’s 30. The record low of 10 was set Oct. 29, 1971, compared to the 16 degree reading set recently on Oct. 30, 2002. Measurable snowfall occurred on 5 of the last 10 years. The record high snowfall of 15 inches was measured Oct. 28, 1961, compared to the 12-inch total recently recorded Oct. 27, 2009.

The greatest October snow depth of 36 inches occurred Oct. 31, 1984.
Simply September by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2013
Are you off to college?  Are you culinarily challenged? Do dinner plans include a telephone or a drive through? This article is for you!

Sausage and
Potato foil packets

Slice 1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes, 1 package kielbasa, 1 red pepper and one onion.  Place in a large bowl and toss with 1t salt and pepper and 1T olive oil.
Tear off 2 sheets of 12” each of aluminum foil, stack on top of each other, place ingredients on the foil. Fold the foil all around the packet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Skillet Chicken
and Bacon Casserole
1 lb chicken breast cubed
1 t olive oil
5 slices of  bacon sliced to ¼ inch pieces
1 small onion sliced thin
1 package of spiral noodles cooked
1 T chopped parsley
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese shredded
In a large skillet warm oil on med heat, then cook bacon until tender crisp. Spoon out all fat but a teaspoon or so,  add chicken and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon pepper. Brown chicken on each side, in onions and cook until the onions are transparent and chicken is cooked. Add in the other ingredients and sprinkle the cheese on last.

Anyone can  bake -
Rustic Apple Cake
¼ cup olive oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 t vanilla

3-4 apples, thinly sliced
½ cup flour
2 t baking powder
½ cup  milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes. I do this with the hand mixer. Stir in oil, and vanilla and combine. Then stir in flour and baking powder alternating with the milk. Stir in apples, coating every piece with batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until cake pulls away from pan and is brown on top. Cool for 15 mins, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream and caramel sauce will work also.

(Taeler Butel writes exclusively for The Mountain Times.)

All About 'Organic' Farming by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2013
Learning should continue through life, not just when the children are going back to school. Learning for all of us goes beyond the three Rs and we need vigilance to stay aware of the latest information. Since what we eat contributes to our brain’s capacity, we should all know more about what goes into our bodies and how it affects our ability to think and function.

Do you really know what the word “organic” means when it comes to your food. We think we do, but there may be more to this knowledge than we realize.
 
Farming is a $550 billion industry which does not necessarily mean that farmers are rich. Though some are, as almost $400 billion of that industry is composed of corporate farming conglomerates – large factory farms. Farms that produce huge crops with the full use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds or plants. A full 80 percent of what you eat if you are not eating strictly organic.
 
Factory farms make money and crowd out smaller farms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that our country had 6.8 million small farms in 1935. That number is now hovering around 2 million. Not all small and family farms were, or are even today, “certified organic according to international standards” and not all small farms are truly organic either.
 
The USDA definition of organic agriculture is a system that “sustains health of soils, ecosystems, and people … relies on biodiversity, and promotes good quality of life for all involved.”

By definition, certified organic farms take into account the health of the soil with practices that lead to long-term sustainability. For our kids and our grandkids and their grandkids. Chemical fertilizers are not used on organic farms as they are loaded with up to 150 different toxins. These are fertilizers that may grow BIG plants (is this what Americans want?) but they “burn” the soil and make the soil highly acidic. As soil is depleted by synthetic chemicals such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, it is more easily eroded by wind and rain and anything else that Mother Nature can bring us weather wise.
 
But organic farms use cover crops and aged compost to rebuild the soil constantly in a natural fashion. Weeding is done by natural methods such as work for people who are growing fatter by sitting in front of screens! Or by the use of boiling water, vinegar, or physical weed barriers such as mulches.
 
Conventional corporate farms use over one billion pesticides in any given year. Add to this the estimated 80,000 chemicals we are exposed to in other areas of our lives and it’s easy to see we have a serious problem. Organic farmers use predatory insect controls like ladybugs and praying mantises. Children and adults alike delight in finding these miniature superheroes disguised as bugs. Crop rotation keeps pests from getting a many-toed hold on crops. Companion planting keeps certain bugs away from more desirable crops.
 
The diversity of the plants growing in the US, in the world in fact, in the 1930s was significant. That diversity is rapidly dwindling. Maybe you don’t even want to try a chiogga beet, but biodiversity of seeds and plants leaves us and future generations a rich heritage. And protects us from crop failures where there are few choices. Industry run farms are dominated by companies such as Monsanto (the primary producer of synthetic chemicals and GMOd seeds), DuPont, Bayer, and Dow Chemical. These are BIG chemical companies that control most of what you’ve been eating since the 1970s.
 
In the US, up to 80 percent of our crops are genetically engineered or “owned” and licensed to Monsanto. The seeds are altered not for your benefit or mine, but for the benefit of the large corporation. Monsanto makes Round Up but doesn’t want the crops to fail if sprayed just before harvest, so they’ve snipped a gene in there so that the crop will resist succumbing to the Round Up so that it can be sprayed closer to harvest time. To say “eeuuww” would be polite. To be fighting mad would be more appropriate.
 
Seeds and plants are manipulated and owned by the large chemical companies so that they cannot reproduce. Each and every grower must buy new seed each year. From Monsanto. Not much biodiversity inherent in that plan. Organic seeds can be heirloom (saved from generation to generation) and lead to an astonishing number of varieties. Open pollinated seeds refer to the work of pollination being done by Mother Nature herself in the form of bees, butterflies, mason bees, rain and wind. These seeds can also be saved and passed on to the next generation or neighbor.
 
All of us can do our part to save our Earth. Buy organic food as much as possible. Grow some of your own food with those seeds from you neighbor. Buy local produce and ask to see the farms where your food is growing. Look for evidence of chemical fertilizers or herbicides. Pesticides are one thing and herbicides are another. Learn the differences. Ask a lot of questions. Round Up, which is promoted as being “innocuous,” is a hormone disrupter, leading to a myriad of hormone related diseases, including cancer. Relax your standards about weeds and be safer from those 80,000 plus chemicals that are out there every day that you eat. Which, I’m assuming, is every day.

And keep learning more.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
Brown Delivers Another Thriller by Sandra Palmer on 09/01/2013
Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code is back with another page-turning thriller full of ancient history and fearful predictions of mankind’s future.

While the successful Dan Brown formula is certainly in place with Inferno, it is a vast improvement over his last book The Lost Symbol. The writing is more taut and the historical context is doled out in easy-to-manage portions this time that fit into the fast paced storyline which takes us from Florence, Italy to Istanbul, Turkey.

There are plenty of advertisements for ancient palaces, artwork and places of worship. The reader can easily imagine Inferno tours queuing up to take faithful Dan Brown readers to all the fascinating landmarks covered by Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon.

As the book opens, the intrepid Mr. Langdon finds himself in a hospital intensive care unit with a head wound that has caused amnesia – conveniently providing an immediate mystery to solve.

The odds ramp up quickly when a hired assassin attempts to finish him off, taking down a doctor instead but starting the chase that propels much of the storyline.

While Langdon flees he tries to unravel his recent past along with the reason his research has caused such a deadly reaction.

This time we have several dark antagonists in the wings. One is a top secret organization skilled at providing “services” for the rich and powerful without asking questions or taking any public credit. The other is a gifted but dangerously creative scientist who seeks to slow the globe’s soon-to-come population explosion with an unprecedented virus release.

As usual a beautiful and amazingly intelligent female doctor leaps to Robert’s aid and becomes his partner in his attempts to stay a jump ahead of those in pursuit.

However, the lovely and talented Sienna has an agenda of her own.

While Dan Brown has famously challenged institutions – most notably the Catholic Church – in past novels, in this book he raises the issue of uncontrolled population growth and the calamity that may befall humanity if it is left unchecked.

In taking on such a contemporary issue and the frightening chance that brilliant scientists may see a tempting opportunity to take action without sanction or consensus, Brown seems to take up the bully pulpit left vacant by Michael Crichton, another novelist who specialized in action-packed novels while raising difficult ethical issues.

Whether or not you have interest in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” from which the literary references are taken in this novel, Dan Brown has created a suspenseful – and thoughtful - summer read in “Inferno.”
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 09/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our big, majestic mountain. The beautiful month of September is upon us and we can still enjoy working in the yard and garden, as this is usually the best time of the year to do so. The fall rains haven’t arrived yet and the air is fresh and crisp. 

It’s also a good time to start planting our winter and fall pansies, as they really don’t do well in heat. Keep them watered well during our last warm days so they will provide some nice color for fall and early winter and again in the spring. Be sure to plant them where they will receive at least four hours of direct sun. They are not shade lovers and will become too leggy if planted full shade.

You might also find it fun to try some other gardening this fall such as lettuce and radishes. You can find a salad mix in the seed packages that makes an attractive plant that can even be put in with the pansies. It will provide a little interesting color with the various shades and textures of greens and reds. Radishes grow best in weather where they can mature quickly and often spring is just too fickle for them, whereas fall will give them the boost they need. With our mild mountain weather, some radishes have been known to be taken fresh from the garden at Christmas time – so have fun!

One reminder though, don’t forget to beef up your soil. Your poor soil has worked hard all summer to keep your garden growing and it needs some nutrients to revive. Be sure to use organic matter, such as decomposed leaf material and manure. You can purchase very desirable planting compost and mix this in with your soil too, but be sure not to go cheap. The best organic compost is black. If it is too brown, it has too much fresh bark dust and not enough old “stuff.” 

Since we are talking about soil, we can think about how valuable it really is. Soil is the foundation of all living things, including us human beings. We were created from dust and to dust we shall return, although our soul lives on. No other planet that we know of, other than Earth, provides the life-giving material such as water and soil for life to succeed. Soil is made up of clay, silt and sand and broken up by continuous erosion through the centuries. Soils origin is from the volcanic activity that pushes the lava rock from the depth of the earth. The soil is then broken into bits and pieces and mixed with decomposed plant and animal matter. If we looked at earth as a sliced apple we would see that just the thin skin of our planet, like the skin on the apple, provides the nutrients we need to sustain life. This layer is only about 10 miles deep. That should humble us and cause us to be better soil conservationists and be better stewards of what our God has given us.

Laws of Physics Don't Apply by Ned Hickson on 09/01/2013
My wife and I have been trying to come up with an explanation for the volume of dirty clothes that accumulates in our laundry basket on a daily basis. In an attempt to explain this phenomena by utilizing mathematic principles, we went through the laundry, separated the clothes, subtracted how many days since the basket was empty, and then divided it by the number of children in our home — which lead to an important discovery:

We had become trapped in the bathroom after our pile of clothes fell against the door.

While it’s true we have four children between us, according to my calculations they are changing their clothes every 18 minutes. This includes through the night, when they apparently take turns changing EACH OTHER while sleeping in shifts.

This would explain how they can have a closet full of clothes at bedtime, then wake up and have nothing to wear.

It would also explain why their bed sheets are always untucked and strewn on the floor by morning; they are using the sheets to drag each other’s sleeping bodies back and forth to the closet.

Also included in our mathematical equation was the “X” quotient, which represents clothes that don’t actually make it home from school until the end of the year, when they magically re-appear in the closet two sizes too small.

Even though they are homosapians capable of walking in an upright position, we have to assume, judging from their pants, our children spend most of the day on their hands and knees trapping moles.
As a result, we discussed the idea of getting ahead of the curve by purchasing new pants, and then immediately cutting the knees out. This would effectively eliminate 90 percent of the grass stains from our laundry while, at the same time, providing our children with knee calluses the size of Egg McMuffins.

We decided against this because we realized our children would be missing an important lesson about taking care of their clothes.

We also realized we really needed to stop and eat because the phrase “Egg McMuffin knee calluses” made us salivate.

What we eventually decided on was a responsibility checklist for each of our children. This list is designed to encourage them to take care of their clothes as well as themselves.

Naturally, there is a reward system involved for completing this checklist each day, such as reward option 1) Not having to go to school naked.

I will let you know if our plan is successful.

As soon as we get out of the bathroom.

(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or visit his blog at www.nedhickson.word press.com)

Max Malone
Episode II: The Plot Thickens by Max Malone, Private Eye on 09/01/2013
The mist of Maggie Magee with a deadly hole in her head drifted through my own like a lonesome cowboy in a spaghetti western, as I was led by Lola into her joint.

Deputy Mike Allen was seated at a large table talking to a young woman – an apparently saddened member of the cancelled bachelorette party.

Call it instinct.

A handful of other young women were seated a short distance away – simultaneously in their best dresses and worst faces, like a murder of crows trapped in a dumpster. There were a few customers scattered at other tables, innocent bystanders no doubt, but they were somberly interested in the strange goings on in Lola’s joint – normally a pub of great joy.

Due to the circumstances, Lola’s rustic, convivial ski resort décor had taken on the spirit of a gloomy, gothic cathedral.

A young woman rose from the table adjoining the interview and sashayed up to me.
“You’re Max?”
“Max Malone,” I offered.
“I’m Hope.”
Her round acquisitive eyes had grown into her name. I nodded my approval.
“You’re the private eye,” she said affirmatively, but went right on. “Are you on this case?”
“Nope.”
“Why not?”
“No client.”
Hope’s eyes dropped a set of eyelashes toward sullen, but immediately recovered.
“What does it take to be a client of yours,” she asked in a husky voice that insisted she was not accustomed to being refused anything.
“The case has to be described, then I decide, then we discuss my fee.”
“Is that all?”
“Pretty much.”

She went on to explain that her best friend had been murdered – a fact I was already privy to but I was in no mood to suppress Hope. That funny trickle down the spine of a man when confronted by a seductive woman was already working its magic.

She asked me if I knew Maggie. I nodded in a manner that suggested “not very well, but I want to keep the ball rolling.”

Katrina, the cocktail waitress, brushed by me taking drinks to the onlookers with no desire in the doing – a totally unrealistic attitude for her. She tapped me softly on the back, like a raven escaped from the gripping prose of a story long ago.

Was it a warning? There’s that instinct thing again.

Deputy Mike rose in his chair, this particular interview over. He was a heavy-set man of an uncertain age, and gave the impression he could handle himself.
“You on this case, Max?” he asked in an unofficial official manner.

Mike and I had brushed against each other a few times in the past, always keeping a certain distance – more a show of mutual respect than any level of animosity. The brush strokes resembled Picasso more than Tom Sawyer.

“Nope. No client.”
“Let me talk to you a second,” he said, looking at Hope to dismiss herself.  She had no such plans.

Mike draped his ample arm around my shoulder and led me off toward the bar.

Hope stood her ground, now with hands on hips, lips pouted in a manner that would send Brigitte Bardot back to the casting couch.

Mike related the Maggie story, as he knew it. She had been shot on the way to Alpine Lake, her body left on the side of the trail. She had been discovered by two other hikers that he had since cleared of any wrong doing. Her backpack had been ransacked. The holster of her sidearm was empty. It looked like a robbery homicide. He said attempts to notify her fiancé had failed, as his cell phone was out of service.

He wondered if I wouldn’t mind taking a look at the scene of the crime, and explained to me where it was on the trail.
This caper was closing in on me like a hurricane headed for Havana.

The look in my eyes, probably something akin to a highway possum running out of ideas, landed on Mike.

He patted me on the shoulder (was that a chuckle I heard?), walked back to the bother of babes, and thanked them for their cooperation.

“Keep me posted on what you find,” he said to me as he exited the joint, taking one-third of the available oxygen with him.

Hope sprang eternal. She hadn’t altered her stance.

“I’ll hire you,” she said flatly.

I let her know I had to look at a few things first, but took my sweet time explaining it. After all …

Then: “Do you know the unlucky husband-to-be?”
She shook her head like a thoroughbred dismissing a clueless barn fly. “Some hotsy-totsy city lawyer,” Hope hissed.

Suddenly Lola cranked up the volume on the TV behind the bar. A blonde reporter with a horsey face, decked out in a newly acquired outfit from REI, was assuring us she was “LIVE” at Mount Hood, and that a search was on for a lost climber named Paul Greinke, a Portland attorney.

So Maggie was dead, her fiancé – a hotsy totsy – was lost on the mountain. I caught a whiff of the acrid odor of coincidence, a foul smell that I trusted as much as a camel with a mouthful of cud.

The plot was thickening like a mushrooming marinara sauce in a sixty-year-old Italian skillet – and the particulars in the pot had reached al dente perfection.

At least there was still Hope.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Higher Temps on the Way by Herb Miller on 09/01/2013
A 44-day dry spell ended in Brightwood Aug. 10 with a couple claps of thunder and .14 inches of rain. Although threatened, the record for most days without meaurable rain occurred only last year during the 49-day period between July 21 and Sept. 9, from records dating back to 1978.

Government Camp’s ending of the dry spell was more impressive when a thunderstorm dumped more than an inch of rain in a relatively short time.

Average temperatures for the month were a few degrees above normal at both Brightwood and Government Camp, despite the unsettled and slightly cooler weather during the last week of the month. Although this summer has had a number of sunny days, it’s likely Brightwood will fail to have a high temperature reach 90 degrees for the first time since 1999.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have slightly higher average temperatures during September, based in part on the low soil moisture. Precipitation is again expected to be about average.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70 degrees, an average low of 47 and a precipitation average of 3.25 inches. During the last 10 years, six years had highs in the 80s, three had highs in the 90s, and one year ended in the 70s. The record high of 102 was set Sept. 2, 1988. During the last 10 years, four years had lows in the low 40s, and the other six had lows in the 30s, including the record low of 32 set Sept. 25, 2005. The record precipitation of 8.61 inches was set in 2004.

In Government Camp, the average high during September is 63 degrees, the average low is 42, with an average precipitation amount of 3.44 inches – which includes an 0.2 inches of snow. Highs in the 80s occurred seven times during the last 10 years, with the other three settling for the 70s. The record high of 94 was set Sept. 4, 1988. One year during the last 10 had a low of 29, the other nine settled for the 30s. The record low of 23 was set Sept. 27, 1972. The record high snowfall of 3 inches was measured Sept. 23, 1984 and the greatest snow depth of 4 inches was measured Sept. 24, 1972. Recently, a trace of snow fell on each of the last five days in September, 2009, including 0.2 inches on the 30th.
Sprucing Up the Yard by Geoff Berteau on 09/01/2013
Teri Grimsley can search for years to find just the right fit to complete a glass flower, but when she does find a match, she transforms parts found from garage sales, thrift stores or antique boutiques and fashions them into beautiful pieces of yard art.

From making a mobile out of shells and driftwood 30 years ago as a gift for her brother, Grimsley has progressed to bringing exquisite life in the form of glass flowers from plates, bowls and unusual pieces of glass.

Rare Finds Yard Art in Welches is the brainchild of Grimsley. After making birdbaths, birdfeeders and glass flowers as a hobby for neighbors, friends and family, they all encouraged her to sell them.

Finally, Grimsley decided to try it out, ordered business cards, established a domain name for her website, and set about finding a place to display her art.

Following a fruitful stop at All Seasons Property Management, Grimsley found the perfect place to display her work.

A “Grand Opening” of Rare Finds Yard Art was planned for this year’s Cinco de Mayo, and after a successful weekend, Rare Finds Yard Art was up and running.

“I can only work from spring to fall,” Grimsley said. “It’s too cold in the winter. Paint and silicone are finicky like that. So I do most of my shopping during this down time.”

The process is laborious and flowers can take anywhere from two to three days to make, and birdfeeders take about a week.

“I piece a flower together on my workbench until I get what I call the ‘wow’ factor,” Grimsley said. “Sometimes I’ll switch out different pieces for weeks. Rarely does it come together the first time.”

The only time that Grimsley has been able to achieve this rarity was on a visit to her family in southern California where they stopped at every thrift store and antique boutique along the way.  Unpacking the new “finds” she was able to craft her new favorite flower – a large amber carnival glass base with an antique amber middle and an orange hob nail center.

 “I found each piece in different cities.” she said. “I’m not quite ready to sell this flower though. Some are hard to part with I must admit.”

Grimsley described finding metal leaves being among the rarest finds. “I like to complete a flower with metal leaves,” she said. “When I could find metal leaves at a thrift store everyone knew it, let’s just say I’d jump for joy.”

In addition to searching for the perfect piece, her husband Chuck also shops for pieces of art. “We shop for the glass pieces together, mostly. He goes thrift shopping at lunch times too.”

You can find Rare Finds Yard Art in a craft booth at the Sandy Oktoberfest, held October 6, 7 and 8 on the grounds of St. Michael’s Church, 18090 SE Langensand, Sandy.

Rare Finds Yard Art is located at All Seasons Property Management, 23804 E Greenwood Drive, Welches (just across the road from El Burro).

Telephone 503-568-2094. www.rarefindsyardart.com. facebook/RareFindsYardArt.

by Frances Berteau/MT
Ant Farm's Chic Opening by Geoff Berteau on 08/01/2013

Rustic bread baskets, fresh flowers, and an impressive gelato display case, contribute to the
European chic atmosphere for the opening of the AntFarm Café & Bakery in Sandy.

The café is styled for comfort, reflection, reading and offers espresso, hot chocolate, tea, or artisan gelato – in delectable flavors such as blueberry-lavender, pineapple mint, pistachio and peach pie.

“I love it,” said Nunpa, the AntFarm’s director. “I’m so excited because the kids are very proud, they helped demo the building and are now seeing this beautiful thing. It’s becoming a reality when it’s always just been a dream. The kids are also learning about healthy food and nutrition.”

The sales of healthy food and drinks support the mission and long term goals of the AntFarm Cafe & Bakery, now more than two years in the making, and an extraordinary result of fundraising efforts, hard work and commitment.

The bakery teaches healthy lifestyles, customer service and job skills to youth. In September the internship after-school program begins, with a yearly goal of 28 interns getting their food handlers cards and training in social services.

“It’s a great meeting area, and it’s all about community, there are lots of kids and elders coming in to the cafe,” Nunpa said. 

Soon to come are pastries, sandwiches, homemade breads and smoothies. Everything, including the gelato, is handmade on the premises using the freshest ingredients and whenever possible, organic. Vegan and gluten options are available for most products. Many ingredients come from the garden, like fresh kale, used for the smoothies, and an assortment of the garden produce will be canned for use in soups and other products.
 
Future plans for the bakery include full catering of events and meetings at their spacious downtown location.

The AntFarm Cafe & Bakery is open every day, Mon-Wed from 7-3, Thurs-Sat from 7-7 and Sundays from 10-7, and located at 39140 Proctor Boulevard, Sandy. (503) 668-9955. www.antfarm-interntional.com.

Stop in and see what the AntFarm is all about during Sandy Main Street’s First Friday event on August 2, from 5-8 p.m.  Specials include free artisan gelato samples, fresh produce from the gardens and fresh cut flowers.

Organic Sandy
Jennifer and Tim McLaughlin’s dream of forming their business, Organic Sandy, was realized after the birth of their daughter, Morgan (now 10 months old) and the desire that she eat wholesome, organic food. As a result, Organic Sandy opened for business in mid-July setting up a stand on the corner of Pioneer Boulevard and Wolf  Drive in Sandy.

“You shouldn’t eat anything your grandma wouldn’t recognize,” Jennifer McLaughlin said. “I believe in purity of the food, and a basic and natural lifestyle. It’s all about how we feed our family, and the importance of a thriving local economy. And, unless local farmers are supported, there won’t be any more local farmers.”

The McLaughlins came to Sandy from Alaska because they wanted a small local town with access to a metropolitan city and recreation, and could enjoy activities such as downhill skiing, mountain biking and hiking. They also realized that most of the organic produce they bought while in Alaska came from Oregon.

During the summer growing season the produce at Organic Sandy’s stand is mostly local from nearby farmers, with some produce from California and Washington.

“All of our produce is organic,” explained McLaughlin. “Some is certified, and some is not. The farms are not necessarily certified organic as local farmers don’t always have the means for an organic certification but they do not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds.”

Sandy Organic expands its selection via the Organically Grown Company in Portland when local farmers cannot seasonally meet their needs, so during the winter locals will still be able to consume organic produce.

“It shouldn’t have to be a lot of work to eat organic food,” McLaughlin said. “We shouldn’t have to go to Portland to find something grown in Sandy.”

Future plans are to include dry goods such as tea, coffee, sugar, beans and other organically grown produce. The outdoor stand will move inside in fall to the building on the grounds where they are currently located.

Organic Sandy is 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed and they can be reached at OrganicSandy.com to order online, or at their summer produce stand on the corner of Pioneer Boulevard and Wolf Drive in Sandy (OrganicSandyProduce@gmail.com, phone 971-400-6420). Weekly specials and deliveries are from east of Gresham to the west of Government Camp. Orders must be received by Wednesday for Friday deliveries which are free with a $50-plus order.

by Frances Berteau/MT
filling in for Geoff Berteau


A Good First Step to Good Health by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2013
A mother of four, my daughter works full time and is going to school part time to finish her degree. I admire her dedication and stamina. But as I enter her home on one of her rare days off, I wonder. She’s working at the computer but the TV is on and she’s on the phone arguing with her husband. That’s three screens at once.

The children (ages 5 to 14) are in another room, also with a TV on, but each of them is face-glued to an electronic device. They do get up to greet me, but then each goes back to staring at one of the five screens in that room. This is not an occasional experience. Are they being “present”?

Half of the children in the U.S. are on anti-psychotic drugs for behaviour treatment. Yes, half. Three million children, and numerous adults, are getting meds for Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). All disorders for children are on the rise in our country. There is a 30-40 percent increase in Autism alone. In order to diagnose a case of ADHD we must document at least two symptoms from the following: decreased ability to concentrate, low dopamine levels, hyperactivity, and a lack of awareness of physical environment.

Dopamine levels lead to incentive. Incentive to get up, to do something, to get something done. Just being hyperactive does not mean a diagnosis of ADHD. But not “hearing” instructions, not following through, not responding at all could all be symptoms of ADHD. But doesn’t that mean all of us these days? And could there be other reasons for these responses?

If 3 million children are receiving meds for ADHD, we need to look more deeply at this problem. Most of these children are on Ritalin. Ritalin has side effects, as do all drugs. Those side effects could manifest as depression, poor impulse control (throwing chairs), or in adults, repeated impulse purchasing. All are symptoms of a much deeper problem in our society. All indicate dis-ease in our society.

We have good care for our premature babies but no one asks why there are so many now. Each year there are more premature births, which statistically leads to increased cases of problems like Autism and ADHD later in life. Fewer women are capable of carrying babies to full term. This is generally, though not always, an indication of less robust health. Most of these premature babies live and go on to thrive.

But are we missing something here? A premature birth is a difficult time. There is fear and concern for the infant and less immediate bonding if the baby is in an incubator than its mother’s arms. Women now experience post-partum depression at a whopping rate of 20 percent. I’m sure we mothers all remember feeling overwhelmed under the best of circumstances. A depressed mother cannot be so well attuned to her baby’s needs, to say nothing of her own needs.

Eighty-nine percent of brain development occurs in the first one to three years of life. Those little brains are building a million connections per second.

Remarkable, isn’t it?

In a safe and connected environment, those brains grow into our future leaders. What babies need is attunement to other human beings. We all need that, all through life. But we appear to be divorced from understanding what life is all about. In fact, 2,700 friends on Facebook is not the same as two good friends in the neighborhood or workplace.

Let’s work on this and save our kids and decrease medical costs. Make connections with people. Talk to the checkout person, write a polite, explanatory letter to the restaurant that failed you, help someone in need.

Nothing will make you feel better than connecting with another human being.

Put down that “i” device, look someone in the eyes, and talk  to them, and you will be present in the moment.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 08/01/2013
All kinds of lobbyists were coming at me from every direction. The waning days of session were upon us, and last-minute votes were being counted. A series of major bills, some of which were bad, were finally being pushed through the Senate and the Ways and Means Committee which I sit on. It was a time when you couldn’t be weak, and I had to use what little time I had to research and investigate everything being thrown at us. Then, it was over like the blink of an eye.

You can really divide a legislative session into three main parts: Pre-session, the first four months, and the end. Those who do their homework before session tend to be the ones who achieve all their legislative priorities. With that, I’m proud to come back home saying I passed some key bills because I went to work early and consolidated bipartisan support – despite being a member of the minority party. The big trick – a tidbit I didn’t understand when I was first elected – is that if you work early and push bills through right from the beginning, you avoid seeing them chopped up during end-of-session “bargaining.”

I chief sponsored SB 678 and worked on it early. It is the most promising private sector jobs bill for the entire session. It helps LLC companies, which are a major foundation of our small business job and economic base. The bill protects these small companies from personal liabilities stemming from workers compensation claims. In short, now LLC’s can have the limited liability they were designed to have in the first place, and be able to grow and hire at a quicker rate.

There are the broader issues that seem to get more press – like PERS reform, a “grand bargain,” and potential tax increases. Though the education budget we passed brought $1 billion more than ever before, any scrutinizer knows that won’t translate into more classroom dollars. I won’t be fully content with this session until we actually get a bargain that reforms how we fund schools. We have been following a model that won’t sustain any longer, and the pressure is at its peak to reach a deal. My hope (and belief) is that soon we will be called back for an emergency session and finally get a deal passed that both sides can be proud of.

Also, I was appointed to a key budget committee, the Legislative Emergency Board, which is responsible for allocating funds during the interim. It will be interesting to see what pops up on that board between now and the next session. Contact: sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 08/01/2013
In early July, Oregon’s Legislature adjourned after being in session for 155 days. I’d like to give you a brief recap of the high points of the session and tell you what I will be up to in the days ahead as I ease back into life in beautiful House District 52.

The Education Budget

The last week of the session was a blur of hypertension as most of the major budgets and some of the most important policy bills were all scheduled for votes. Education was front and center in both budget and policy. I’m pleased to say that we were able to provide an additional $1 billion of investment to our K-12 schools more than what was provided to them in the previous biennium. This budget goes a long way toward restoring budget stability to our schools and should help to stem the tide of teacher layoffs.

Higher Education

In addition to K-12, we were also able to provide significant increases to the budgets of our universities and community colleges. This will help to hold tuition increases to a minimum.
I supported two major education policy bills that passed in the last week – Senate Bill 270 gives the University of Oregon and Portland State University the ability to create their own institutional governing boards and provides a pathway for the other universities to do the same when and if they feel it is in their best interest to do so. These boards will have the authority to hire and fire presidents and much more autonomy to manage the mission of the university. This is an exciting development and will open the door to greater private sector partnerships with higher education.
House Bill 3120 will lead to the reorganization and consolidation of our higher education system. It will put the Oregon University System and community colleges under the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This should result in a much more steamlined and efficient system of coordination within Higher Ed.

Public Safety

We were also able to pass some important public safety reforms. The idea behind the legislation was to cut costs to the system by investing in more follow-up treatment and modifying the sentences of some non-violent offenders. It will shift some resources from the state level to the counties so they can better focus efforts on repeat offenders and therefore save money. These reforms will keep public safety from consuming an ever growing portion of our general fund in years to come.
Columbia Gorge C.C.

I was also very happy to be able to help secure $7.35 million in funding for construction of the Regional Center of Innovation on the Columbia Gorge Community College Hood River campus. This campus expansion will provide a tremendous opportunity for the college to partner with our high-tech private sector in the Gorge and provide exciting opportunities for students and employers throughout the Gorge region.

PERS Reform
I was disappointed to see the attempts to achieve a “Grand Bargain” for PERS reforms come up short in the last days. The benefits of this package to schools, counties and cities throughout House District 52 would have been very significant. I’m hopeful that a special session could be used at some point in the months to come so that we can take another crack at the issue.

Economic Development
I was also disappointed to see such little attention devoted to statewide economic development this session. In July, the Oregonian reported that we lost 1,000 jobs in June statewide. This is very disturbing news as we continue to try and climb out of this recession. Many of us tried to pass pro-business legislation that could have encouraged more job creation at the local level, but we were unable to have our bills considered.

Serving You
Many of you provided feedback to my office, shared important opinions on legislation and policy, and showed support for our work in Salem, and I can’t tell you enough how important it is to me to stay connected to you and learn from you on how I can serve you to the best of my ability. Thank you for being engaged in the political process.
Now that I am back into the district full-time, I’m excited to reconnect with as many constituents as possible and participate in many of the great summer activities in the area.
A Revealing Novel of Modern Afghanistan by Sandra Palmer on 08/01/2013
Khaled Hosseini’s third novel (after “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”) returns us to the complex emotional landscapes of Afghanistan, Hosseini’s home country. In this touching series of stories, Hosseini deftly sketches the details of an Afghan family and the choices that resonate over years and generations, again providing a uniquely truthful view of the human cost of years of political turmoil and war.

Hoisseini is a skillful storyteller and the tales within this novel are revealing and full of telling details. We begin in 1952 in a small village not far from Kabul as a simple laborer, Kaboor, tells of a painful loss prompted by poverty. Kaboor agrees to give his young daughter to Noor, a well-known female poet, and her wealthy son. This decision is particularly hard on Pari, the adopted child, and Abdulah, her brother, who had lovingly cared for her and with whom she had an extraordinary spiritual bond.

Thus, the decision made by the family and facilitated by the uncle Nabi has significant repercussions within the family, especially for the two children who were never told of the previous family situation but who spend the rest of their lives trying to fill an emotional hole after the separation.

Eventually Noor takes Pari with her to Paris but during the U.S. occupation, a dying Nabi reveals the truth to Markos, a plastic surgeon who is renting the Kabul home. Markos promises to find Pari and deliver correspondence that will reveal the true story to her for the first time.

A moving sub-story tells about a physician who is moved by the strong spirit of a young woman battling lengthy hospitalization and recovery. The young doctor becomes obsessed with supporting her and visiting her while in Kabul but he eventually lets her go after returning to his position in the United States. Years later, he meets the triumphant young woman when she visits the U.S. on a book tour where he must confront his failure to keep his commitments. The reader is left to wonder how true this vignette might be and if Hosseini has had this experience – or one like it – himself.

I found the story thread of “And the Mountains Echoed” a bit hard to follow compared to Hosseini’s first two novels but I continue to be amazed at the new understandings I have every time I read a work by this author.

I expect he has much more to teach all of us about the puzzle that is modern Afghanistan.
 With more than ten million copies sold in the United States of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, Khaled Hosseini is one of most widely read novelists in the world.

A physician before beginning his literary career, Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Freak Out on a Carnival Ride by Ned Hickson on 08/01/2013
I have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to carnival rides: If the person running a ride, such as the Squirrel Cages, keeps a garden hose available for spraying out the seats, I stay away.

That’s because this person’s sole ambition is to make me — and others like me — vomit. I realize this person may be a trained professional who, on a daily basis, makes countless split-second decisions on whether to push the red or green button to stop the ride.

And, yes, I realize this individual has nothing but the safety of his passengers in mind when he secures a safety latch by removing his boot and whacking it until his arm gets tired, at which point, being a trained professional, he bolsters the confidence of his nervous riders by hacking up a cheekful of phlegm and shrugging his shoulders before walking off.

Yet somehow, in spite of these assurances, I’m still terrified of carnival rides.

I think it’s because, when I was 10, my “friends” talked me into riding The Drop Out, which wasn’t actually a ride as much as it was a barf-a-torium with an observation deck. Basically, 30 people entered a circular room and found a spot along the wall. Gradually, the walls would begin to rotate faster and faster, creating enough centrifugal force to suck the cotton candy from the mouth of anyone standing within 100 feet. Once the ride reached optimum centrifuge, occupants would be stuck to the wall as the floor dropped out, leaving them suspended 20 feet above a pit of (presumably fake) spikes.

All of this was visible through a series of windows surrounding the ride so that, while waiting in line, people such as myself could prepare for the experience by, very slowly, having a bowel movement.

I still don’t know how I got talked into this ride. All I know is that I ended up next to someone whose stomach contents went on display the instant the floor dropped out. Due to the force of gravity, I couldn’t move my head without blacking out, which meant watching the sum total of this person’s food consumption — which was considerable — reconfigure itself on the wall next to me.

This was, without question, the longest ride of my life. To this day, I can still see the apologetic look on that person’s face as the ride came to an end and the three of us — him, his vomit and I — gradually slid down the wall together.

Since that fateful encounter I’ve had no interest in being strapped down, cinched up or buckled into something specifically designed to do things I wouldn’t normally do without a flight suit and full medical coverage.

My son gets frustrated by this because he’s one of those people who is exhilarated by having his stomach in his mouth. The one time he talked me into riding with him was on the Squirrel Cages, where there was no chance of me flying out of my seat or getting vomited on. Everything was fine until that part in the ride when — and you know the part I mean — it starts to actually move.

Granted, I’m not a professional carnival ride operator, but I think I could recognize some of the subtle signs exhibited by a rider who is in distress.

For example: Someone who is pressed so hard against the cage that his lips are actually outside the door while screaming “LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF-LET-ME-OFF!” would be a red flag to me. Particularly if the rider in question began doing this after traveling less than two feet.

In my case, these signs were somehow missed by our ride operator.

I’m not saying it was all his fault. Who knows, he might’ve been busy looking for a garden hose?
Warmer than Usual August on Tap by Herb Miller on 08/01/2013
Abundant sunshine prevailed throughout July, although neither Brightwood nor Government Camp had a high temperature reach 90 degrees.

Brightwood had periods with highs in the 80s, followed by periodS with highs in the 70s, ending the month on the cooler side.

Government Camp started the month with three days reaching the 80s, after which most of the rest of the month settled for the 70s except for a few days that failed to get above the 60s.

And rainfall was just a memory. For the month, the average high temperature was about 3 degrees above normal, but the average low was right on target.

Observations by the National Weather Service show little change in conditions over the Pacific Ocean compared to a month ago. As might be expected, our area is again expected to be a bit warmer than average, and precipitation near normal. For the record, July and August are our driest months, and the long-term combined total precipitation is less than 3 inches for either Brightwood or Government Camp.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.48 inches. A high temperature reaching 90 or higher occurred without exception during the last 10 years. The record high of 106 was set Aug. 8, 1981, compared to the 100 reading Aug. 13, 2002. A low of 39 is the only exception to lows dropping into the 40s during the last 10 years. The record low of 36 was set Aug. 29, 1980, which was approached with the reading of 39 set Aug. 31, 2006. The record precipitation of 7.23 inches set during 2004 does not appear to be in jeopardy.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during August is 68 degrees, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.64 inches. Four of the last 10 years had high temperatures reach into the 90s, the others had highs in the 80s. The record high of 105 was set Aug. 18, 1977. Low temperatures routinely drop into the 30s, but two of the last 10 years had lows above 40 degrees. The record low of 32 set Aug. 28, 1980 was threatened just last year with a reading of 33 on Aug. 25.

Max Malone
Episode I -- The Caper by Max Malone, Private Eye on 08/01/2013
There I was snaking my way outta the Pearl District like a python after a fortnight in a pygmy palace. I cleared the surface streets and coaxed my Suburban onto the Interstate, headed to my mountain cabin bent on shakin’ the city dust off my old pair of chinos.

The miles flicked by like flies from a stallion’s tail and before I knew it I was in full escape mode on Hwy. 26 with nothing between me and the cabin but an honor guard of cedar trees, boughing as I cruised past.

My first stop was Tony’s joint, a woodsy, classy restaurant with good food and a clientele that ranged from voluntarily displaced ad execs to loggers and construction workers in their best pair of Wranglers.

“Welcome back Max,” Tony said, giving away nothing but his wary pleasure in seeing me. “Somethin’ to eat?” I told him not until dinner time, but had trouble keeping eye contact because of the new redhead behind the bar. Tony noticed – he noticed everything in his joint – but he maintained that no-comment smile, the territory of top-flight proprietors.

After a perfect martini – with an olive that would make a Greek national weep with joy – I moved on up the mountain to pick up my copy of The Mountain Times. I was headed to my cabin to catch up on the local news, but would avoid the owner’s editorial page like a grade schooler faking a stomach ache on flu-shot day. The editor was an OK guy, I guess, a little tough to pin down, but his political bent reminded me of a forsaken fishing boat listing too far to portside.

I trolled up the dirt access road past my neighbor Sam’s cabin. He was standing on his porch, a man caught in a century warp. He was tall, slim, squinty-eyed, cowboy boots and hat, with a drooping mustache that would have been the envy of every gunslinger from Tombstone to the picket line. In character, he dropped his chin a quarter-inch, which for Sam passed as a nod. I flicked a finger off the brim of my fedora – a private eye’s return salute.

I shuffled around the cabin, dropped the needle on a Frank Sinatra vinyl, liberated a Heineken from the fridge, and settled into my chair on the deck with The Mountain Times. A spring shower moved up the mountain, dancing with the current on the Sandy River just beyond my cabin. It was the type of rain that cleaned up the city streets before it got up here, then quickly turned into a life-giving force for everything outdoorsy from foxgloves to foxy girls.

The moment I wasn’t waiting for erupted with the raucous ring of my land line. True, no one knew that number except Francoise, my secretary in Portland, and a few mountain friends, but I wasn’t quite ready for either, yet. The Heineken was still half full, after all, and Sinatra hadn’t got through the first cut.

It was Lola on the other end. She owned a joint further up the mountain. She was distraught.

“Oh Max. I’m so glad you’re here. Your French secretary said you were coming up.”
“Uh, what’s wrong kid?”
“It’s Maggie. (silence, then) Maggie McGee.”
“Yeah. What about her?”
“She’s been shot.”
From Lola’s tone, which trickled through her sobs like a naïve whiskey over too many ice cubes, I knew Maggie wasn’t just shot. She was dead. Call it professional insight.

It was getting dark and the spring shower was acting serious as I wheeled the Suburban back onto the highway aimed at Lola’s. I passed the fire department as the chief was climbing into his command vehicle. Two miles later, his siren screaming like the latest winner in a Miss America contest, he roared around me on his way to a situation on the mountain or a rescue mission at the Hackett Creek Café picking up dinner for his volunteer firefighters.
I pulled into Lola’s joint as she came running out the front into the parking lot, with a rain slicker over her shoulders, a droopy hat, and tears welling behind her conservative black-rimmed glasses – the kind that keep creeps away. She threw her arms around me, knocking my fedora askew, and for a moment we hugged like two porpoises trapped in an aquarium.

“She’s dead, Max.”
That was too bad. Maggie had grown up on the mountain but was too ambitious – perhaps too clever – to stay. She had been linked with Paul Greinke, a dashing attorney with politician’s eyes and a suspicious soul slathered with one too many dollops of bon-vivant sauce for my taste. Maggie still had many friends on the mountain and stayed in touch with them all, or so I was told.

“She was having her bachelorette party here tonight. She hiked up to Alpine Lake this morning. She never came back. They found her body, Max.”

“There, there,” I said as I patted the soggy rain coat.

“All the girls are in there,” Lola pointed at the door.

That explained the sheriff’s cruiser in the parking lot. I got a visual of the bother of babes inside, and a sheriff’s deputy having the interviews of his life.

A caper had reared its ugly head, and somehow I knew that I was going to get up to my ears in it, like an inconsequential cow floundering in a Florida sink hole.

After all, I am Max Malone, private eye.
Food Security Means More Than an Electric Can Opener by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2013
We tend to think of the phrase “food security” as it applies to our undernourished children in schools.
This, of course, is a much bigger problem than most of us realize (just ask a teacher) for children’s brains, and adult’s brains too, cannot process information without nutrition.

But food security is something we should all be thinking about. We may not be as prone to the tornado disasters and floods of the midwest, nor the droughts of the southwest, but we are being reminded of the need to be prepared.

Experts remind us that it’s just a matter of time before that earthquake or volcano takes its toll.

Adding to this insecurity is the fact that we are losing our pollinators, our topsoil, and apparently our wits. Having a food system based on cheap and available petroleum products to get food stuffs to me does not exactly make me feel secure.

Unless we come up with alternatives, be it attitudes or sources, it looks like the petroleum supply will dwindle while population and prices continue to go up.

We need to shift to self-reliance, at least in some part. If we want food security to equal or lead to health, we need to look at the quality of our food, not just the price.

We need to minimize the consumption of foods that don’t build health and well-being.

We need to take care of ourselves and our families first, then our neighbors and the community at large.

I am reminded of a true story about a city-dwelling friend of mine who declared she “almost starved” during a four-day power outage because she couldn’t use her electric can opener. I laughed at her joke until I realized she wasn’t kidding. That’s not food security. But a cupboard with a few cans of food was all she had stashed away.

Other than non-electric appliances, where do you start in your pursuit of food security?
It would be good to know how much and what foods your family generally consumes in a year. Keeping track can be daunting but you could at least get an idea by keeping those weekly shopping lists or receipts to determine what you repeatedly consume.

Buying some things in bulk not only saves on gas, and on the food budget, but it gives a sense of security.

I’m sure your family prefers fresh food, but if they had to, they’d be able to feast on beans, home-canned fruit, oatmeal, and peanut butter if it came down to it.

And it could.

Fruits and vegetables are abundant at farmers’ markets and in gardens. Purchasing in a larger quantity usually means a discount. A society that generally throws out 40 percent of its fresh produce either needs to learn to can, dry, or freeze the excess – or get chickens or a Guinea pig.

If you can refer back to that annual list of food purchases you might find that your family of four uses close to 300 pounds of apples in any given year. You could probably get a better price on that sort of quantity and if you didn’t need that much, contact neighbors and relatives in order to take advantage of the price break by doing a group purchase.

Then you could store your share of the apples for a few months before making applesauce, freezing apple pie filling, and dehydrating the rest. It’s all doable, much less expensive, and builds community.
Food security may be in storing 50 pounds of potatoes for a few months. Knowing that a baked potato supplies more than 250 calories of usable energy, while that same potato made into potato chips would give you 360 empty calories that tend to rest on your hips, will help you to avoid buying the latter.

And appreciate having stored the former.

Enjoy the abundance of summer while accepting that things happen in nature that may mean your sense of petroleum-based supermarket selection may not always supply you with a sense of food security. Take some measure of self-reliance and gain a greater sense of security. Start a garden (even if it’s in pots), buy in bulk, can, dry, freeze excess so it doesn’t go to waste.

And make sure you have a non-electric can opener just in case.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 07/01/2013
During this legislative session we have received various reports and information about the economy in Oregon that requires a closer look in order to truly understand where we are as a state and where we may be headed in the future.
Readers will remember that the May revenue forecast said we would have nearly $275 million dollars in additional revenue for this biennium due to increased tax receipts from individuals and businesses. On the surface, this was welcome news. It meant that we would be able to increase funding for K-12 schools by nearly $1 billion dollars as well as have the much-needed resources to fully fund other public services and health care needs—and that this could be done without raising taxes. But below the surface, the report showed that the majority of the increase in revenue came from the sale of assets to avoid future tax increases, not from a growing and healthy state economy. This is concerning.
Recently, the employment department released their statistics about the status of the adult workforce in Oregon. The good news is that our unemployment rate is at its lowest level in four and a half years at 7.8 percent. This is welcome news to those who have been struggling to find jobs so they can provide for themselves and their families. But the concerning news is that within our labor force in Oregon, the number of eligible adults who are actually working is at an all-time low. As of May, only 61.8 percent of adults were actually employed. This is disconcerting at best and it is a trend that is expected to continue. It’s very hard for an economy to expand and grow when the number of working adults is declining. Even though Hood River County leads the state with a 83.7  percent participation rate, this is a troubling statistic that likely means we will continue to have difficulty funding education and other vital services at levels that we would like.
With this mixed bag of economic news about our slowly growing yet fragile economy, you might expect that the legislature would be focused on helping business to grow and individuals to be more profitable. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. House leadership has allowed dozens of bills to be voted out of committee and then passed to the House floor that will make life more difficult and less profitable for the private sector.
We have also done very little (at this writing) to address the cost drivers that continue to take precious resources out of the budgets of our school districts, colleges and universities. Let’s hope that as the legislature moves toward SINE DIE very soon that we will either do no further harm or we will actually take some action to help families and businesses regain economic health.

(State Representative Mark Johnson, R-Hood River, provides monthly updates exclusively to The Mountain Times.)

Le Carre Plunges Into the Covert War on Terror by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2013
John le Carre is a master of espionage suspense and his newest novel, while not a masterpiece, takes an intriguing path into the behind-the-scenes action of the covert war on terror.

Many serpentine twists and turns and cover-ups are involved in what seems at first to be a straight-forward capture of a terrorist king-pin.

Le Carre provides insight into the personal costs of the international efforts to battle shadowy foes in the present day – along with shady techniques and unprecedented public/private partnerships where lines of responsibility and legality are blurred.

The novel begins with a covert counter-terrorist operation code-named “Wildlife.” An experienced diplomat is recruited to take part in the mission to lend it credibility with the British government and other international participants. The stated purpose of the expedition is to capture a high-value target, an arms buyer who is expected to visit the British crown colony of Gibraltar. While “Paul” - the diplomat who is kept in the dark through much of the action, is left with the impression that the mission is a total win for his side and “cleanly” accomplished, the actual events on the ground turn out to be in stark contrast.

Years later, a disgraced and depressed Special Forces veteran delivers his truth about what really happened, causing great consternation to those who participated and believed the official transcript of events.

Was a tragedy indeed covered up? If so, why and how?  A rising young diplomat stumbles upon the cover-up story and decides he can’t ignore its implications or its tragic personal costs. Together with Sir Christopher Probyn, a now-retired British diplomat, and his tough-minded daughter Emily, Toby walks the careful line of danger to uncover the truth of those past events.

The reader is left feeling amazed at the convoluted narrative of this one solitary event in a global war that must certainly feature many, many missions with reports that may be “polished” before they are presented to higher levels.

How many clandestine warriors struggle with their consciences as they follow the governmental or company line instead of acknowledging the less palatable truth?

(John le Carre began writing spy novels while he was working for the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. He is the author of over 20 novels.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 07/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our majestic mountain.

Here we are right in the middle of our blessed summer season; our flowers, our veggies and our weeds.

The early morning serenade of birdsong erases any blues that may hang up the day, truly God’s peace abounds. 

Those beautiful baskets that suspend from our porches and lofts are the thing now, as they attract hummingbirds and butterflies making them even prettier to gaze upon.

These baskets will bloom beautifully from now until October if given proper care. Use a little common sense when placing them. 

Fuchsias do best in shade with plenty of food in their water, and keep those berries removed so they will keep blooming.

These are the hummers favorites!

The “swingtime” fuchsia is especially hardy and exhibits a pink skirt with white petals – the perfect display of a ballerina. 

For sunshine you can’t beat some of those flamboyant colors of the petunias or million bells; the raspberries, oranges, pinks, purples, the list goes on. 

These plants are easy to care for as well.

Think about your yard and how you can make it beautiful with a hanging basket draped from a branch or beam with little cost. 

Plus, if hung high enough, the deer can’t reach up to destroy your beauty. Just make sure you have an extended arm on your water wand for easy watering.

Ah, I wrote a poem about Bambi that I would like to share with you.  It’s from a new book I am currently writing:

“Oh dear what can the matter be”
Bambi was once a welcomed guest
Now Bambi appears unwanted as he ate some precious plants
You see, you moved out in the country to the mountain wild and sweet,
Now you expect Bambi to leave the country where he is wild and free,
You love to plant your garden; you enjoy harvesting your corn,
Now try a pot or two where Bambi can’t reach and the two of you in peace can abide!
 

Until next time and as always may you have the peace and joy of simply gardening. 
Science Links Obesity to Lazy Microbes by Ned Hickson on 07/01/2013
Scientists at Cornell University have created a device capable of measuring the weight of a single cell. This is big news because it moves us beyond the limits of sub-gram measurements “nano,” “pico” and “femto,” and into an exciting new realm of measurements known as “zeppo,” “harpo” and “groucho.”
This could eventually lead to the smallest and least-known unit of measure, “shempo.”

Many of you are probably wondering how useful this information really is when it seems most things – cars, houses, Americans in general – are actually getting bigger.

Personally, I see no benefit in being able to describe my weight as “a little over 70 trillion harpo-grams.” And I can tell you no husband wants to be around when his wife discovers, after eating that extra helping of potato salad this Fourth of July, that she not only gained back the 17 trillion zeppo-grams she’d lost, but also put on an extra two billion grouchos.

It doesn’t matter that all of this adds up to less than a single uncooked lima bean.

What matters is that I make the potato salad, and will therefore be held responsible.

As Cornell University scientists explained, this new system of measurement is a tremendous breakthrough because it allows them to weigh things that had previously been too small for anyone to actually care about.

To help you appreciate this advancement, I will attempt to explain the science behind the discovery.
Being that this is a family newspaper, I should warn you that I will be referring to “oscillating cantilevers” and “sextillions.” Rest assured that these are completely innocuous words, especially since I have no idea what they mean.

And once again, being that this is a family newspaper, I will refrain from guessing.

According to scientists, their discovery was made by using “tiny oscillating cantilevers” to detect a change in the mass of something as small as one “sextillion.” This is equal to one-thousandth of a femtogram, or put in more practical terms, roughly the size of one bacterium nostril.

Why is this important?

Because, as far as I know, this is the first time anyone has actually used the term “bacterium nostril” in a newspaper column.

But even more importantly, scientists will tell you that it’s our dogged pursuit of knowledge that separates us from the apes.

Who, as we all know, have really big nostrils.

The bigger question, of course, is how this new ability to weigh microorganisms will affect you and me, the general nose-breathing public? 

With our nation’s obesity problem in mind, I am using this technology to launch my own weight loss program. Unlike other programs, mine strikes at the heart of our obesity issue by placing blame where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of big fat microbes, which constantly hang all over us, therefore making us appear to weigh more than we actually do.

The “Nedkins Micro Diet” is actually in bookstores right now, so look for it on the shelves.
You’ll have to look hard, though; it’s pretty small.

(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. Write to him at nedhickson@icloud.com, or visit his blog at www.nedhickson.word press.com)
Break Out the Bikinis by Herb Miller on 07/01/2013
Once again, the month got off to a warm, dry start, but by June 10 a series of cooler, then warmer periods, took turns, ending the month on the warmer side.

The alternating periods pretty well balanced out, and the average temperatures ends close to the long-term averages, although precipitation was a bit lower than average. About the only thing of note is that the Rose Festival enjoyed dry and sunny weather.

The National Weather Service expects a heat wave to cover most of the West during July with areas east of the Cascades extending to the Rockies to be hottest – especially the area south of Idaho. Only a narrow strip in Oregon and Washington that borders the ocean is expected to have average temperatures. Precipitation is forecast to be about average for our area.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.36 inches. The past 10 years July has been hotter than normal with four years having highs in the 100s, four in the 90s and two in the 80s. On average, July has three days with highs reaching 90 or higher. The record high of 105 was set July 21, 2006, closely followed by 103 set July 29, 2009. Low temperatures routinely drop into the 40s, the record being 37 degrees set July 8, 1981. The record rainfall of 5.51 inches was measured during 1983. In 2011, rainfall totaled 2.17 inches, the only year during the past 10 when more than one inch of rain fell.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during July is 68 degrees, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.08 inches. Two of the last 10 years had high temperatures reach into the 90s, the other eight had highs in the 80s. The record high of 99 was set July 20, 1956. It was approached with a reading of 94 July 22, 2006. Low temperatures usually drop into the 30s, but two of the last 10 years had a low reading of 40. The record low of 29 was set July 2, 1962 compared to a low of 33 set on both July 4 and July 5, 2012.
Eco-Plus Will Revive That AC Unit by Geoff Berteau on 07/01/2013
Summer breeze makes me feel fine;
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

– Seals & Crofts

That long-awaited Mountain summer has arrived, and so has the Eco-Plus air conditioning service center.

Rob Riddell, owner of Rob’s Subaru, has a summer breeze special for local customers.

“Most of the old ways of applying refrigerant in (auto) AC units was harmful to the environment,” Riddell said. “So I invested in a new refrigerant recycling, evacuation and recharging system.”

And the investment was not a trifle: a $4,700 Eco-Plus AC service center from Snap-On.

Riddell pointed out that his new toy is the only one on the Mountain, and not many shops anywhere offer this service due to the short season and high cost of equipment.

“This, combined with the high cost leaves many consumers and small shops with no choice but to use top-off cans or vent excess refrigerant into the atmosphere illegally,” he said. “Also, the use of top-off cans leads to high system operating pressures which result in more leaks. Due to its high global warming potential we want to keep r134a (refrigerant) out of the atmosphere as much as possible.”

Riddell also noted that these hazardous particles are being phased out in Europe due to recently discovered health hazards.

“The only way to do it right every time is with modern EPA certified equipment,” he said.

It’s not hard to imagine that with top-off cans available at most retail stores and the lack of AC services in the area that there is a lot of this stuff going into the air during these warm months. 

When it gets hot, many consumers are willing to try adding a can for $20 to see if it helps.

“Much of the contents of these cans end up in the atmosphere,” he said. “And we’re trying to reduce it by offering professional AC services to our customers.”

The price is made more reasonable with a July special for a complete AC service of $100 at Rob’s Subaru behind El Burro in the Rendezvous Center.

Rob provides the summer breeze. A jasmine car freshener is optional.

(Larry Berteau is filling in for Geoff Berteau during this Thai hiatus.)

Exposed Bodies in Summer Require Healthy 'Diets' by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2013
Maybe you have no intention of donning a bikini, or even shorts, but warmer weather nonetheless leaves us with more of our bodies exposed.

The “diet” of the year has long since gone by the wayside and maybe, just maybe, we’re willing to finally commit to just eating better.

For the long term.

When choosing what to eat, many things need to be given consideration. We are all toxic, not only from air, food, and water, but also from environmental exposures to chemicals and substances found in our environment. Not just car exhaust and mercury in seafood, but substances found in our carpets, clothing, couches, and sheets and other sources as well. There are the plastic food and water containers, paper receipts, and computer ink.

The list goes on.

As Americans we generally have high fat, low fiber diets with too mch sugar. One hundred percent of us are living with environmental toxins in our blood and tissues and some think as many of us are intolerant of gluten due to thousands of years of hybridization.

The bottom line is – every one of us could still do better.

Gardens are growing, farmers markets are open, and the sun is out more days than not. The only excuse for not eating healthy this summer is lack of knowledge or motivation.

While I’m not a fan of any particular “diet,” there do tend to be changes and improvements that we could all be making to take poor health to good, and good health to fantastic.

While there is no perfect diet, there have been some daunting changes to what we have chosen to consume since hunter-gatherer times to the present. The hunter-gatherer intake was one-third protein (mostly from animal sources), and two thirds unprocessed food.

Unprocessed means it never touched a bag, can or processing plant. No one advertised that it was “new and improved” and commercials did not tout its nutitional benefit. Food was fresh, mostly-raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans (a great source of protein for vegetarians) and seeds.

The unprocessed diet meant more than 100 grams of fiber were consumed per day, while the modern diet barely provides 20 grams. And we wonder why colon and other cancers are on the rise.
Sodium, only that which occurred naturally in the diet, was a few 100 milligrams per day, while Americans now consume literally thousands of milligrams per day!

And we cannot figure out why high blood pressure is such a problem.

Hunter-gatherers consumed more than 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day, while today we get considerably less than 1,000 milligrams a day. And we wonder why osteoporosis is such a problem.
Our average intake of refined sugar is more than 150 POUNDS per year per person! An excess of simple sugar in the gut causes proteins to alter, yeast to overgrow, constricts blood vessels, and increases rates of cancer as sugar is food to cancer cells.

Can we learn to like dried or fresh fruit in our oatmeal or sweeten foods with fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, or stevia?

Alter flavors with the seasons, using cooling herbs during the hot months and warming herbs and spices as the seasons progress. Cooling herbs are basil, celery seed, dill, and anything growing during the summer. Warming herbs for later on include cloves, ginger and curry blends.

The very best foods that you can and should be eating now are all the fresh veggies and fruits. Dried beans, lentils, eggs, fish, and yogurt provide protein. The very worst foods to eat (ever) are the things that come in bottles (especially plastic ones), cans (unless BPA-free), and jars (unless home-canned).
Once you get used to eating fresh, shopping will become easier, cheaper and more fun, especially if you venture into the outdoor markets.

Just getting outside will benefit Vitamin D levels and walking to “hunt for and gather” some of your food at a farm market will boost your exercise regime.

You actually will lose weight, slowly and steadily, by eating healthier this summer.

Make this the year you stop trying the latest diet trends and just transition to better choices. See you at the farm markets!

Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 06/01/2013
With June approaching, and hopefully an end to Oregon’s 2013 Legislative Session in sight, the games played in our State Capitol are hitting full throttle. Right now, some people down here are encouraging me to use essays like this as an opportunity to grandstand – and talk about how my bills will save the world should they pass. Instead, I’d like to write about something else.

I do have legislation I’m very proud of, but I am not going to hit this final month with an attitude of passing it at all costs. You would be amazed what kind of vote-trading happens, and how many legislators trade away their principles for items of lesser value in return. I hope it doesn’t come down to it – but sometimes, the mark of a good public servant is the ability to walk away when necessary.

SCR 16 and SB 678 are pieces of legislation I have Chief Sponsored that are good, bipartisan, and sensible.

One does nothing in statute – SCR 16 simply applauds the United Service Organization (longstanding group supporting active troops) for setting up a permanent center at PDX for the first time in history. The resolution will give the USO volunteers wind at their back when they seek private funding from around the Portland metro region.

SB 678 is perhaps the best private-sector jobs bill of the session, which will allow Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) to be protected in ways they were intended. It is the type of pro-small business legislation that we need.

Both of these breezed through the Senate with zero “no” votes. They are obviously good for our state, no matter what party you belong to. But now we see the ugly side of politics down here that I am no longer naïve to: Even these could be stalled on the House side if certain members try to force some bad votes out of me. I foresee being asked to raise multiple taxes and fees in exchange for the passage of my bills.

When I ran for office, I made commitments to everyone in District 26: That I will promote job growth, and that I will work to balance the budget without raising taxes. That continues to be my litmus test.
If I am forced to go against that commitment to you, I have to be willing to let even these good bills die an unfortunate, partisan death.

In these next few weeks, I hope all sides down here can reach a positive solution for Oregon.
My job is to move us in that direction, and I am working hard to make that happen.

(State Sen. Chuck Thomsen provides monthly updates from Salem exclusively to The Mountain Times.)

Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 06/01/2013
In May, the state’s revenue forecast contained a mixed bag of information about Oregon’s economy. On the surface, the news was very encouraging. Revenues to the state have increased more than $250 million this biennium over what was anticipated.

This is good news for schools as it means there is adequate funding available to give K-12 schools the $6.55 billion that has been promised to them with the possibility for more. This can be done without raising taxes.

On the other hand, the forecast had some concerning information. Most of the new revenue in the May numbers came from the sale of capital assets last year by higher income Oregonians in order to avoid higher federal taxes this year. Obviously, any new revenue is welcome, but this is one time money doesn’t come from sustained economic growth. The report also had concerning information regarding slow economic growth and job creation in rural Oregon. What this means is that while we are thankful for the positive data in the May forecast, it’s not at all clear this increase in general fund revenue will be sustainable. We must continue to do all that we can to encourage economic growth throughout our state – especially in House District 52.

I was saddened and frustrated to learn that earlier in May an extremist law firm had filed a lawsuit against the United States Forest Service on behalf of four environmental groups over the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the lift-assisted Mountain Bike Park at Timberline. The proposed bike park would be patterned after the world famous facility that has been developed at Whistler, British Columbia.
Timberline’s RLK and Company first proposed the project in 2010. Since then, the Forest Service issued a very thorough environmental impact statement of the project and determined that when completed, the local watersheds would actually be improved “beyond their current state.”

Now the development will be delayed while the lawsuit takes its course. That means dozens of new jobs will not be coming to the Mountain area anytime soon, and much-needed economic growth due to increased tourism in that area will be halted. In addition, the potential for a major expansion of the growing enviro-recreation industry in the area will be delayed.

I’m sure I speak for many local residents when I say that it is unfortunate and frustrating. And it’s further evidence of what is contributing to the lack of economic vitality in our state. I will continue to do all that I can in Salem to advocate for sustainable and local job creation, economic growth and tourism development for all of Oregon.

(Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) provides monthly updates from Salem exclusively to The Mountain Times.)

A Charmed Existence with Fatal Consequences by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2013
Books are generally written well ahead of publication dates, sometimes years before. For that reason, it is amazing how timely Elizabeth Stout’s latest novel seems.

A confused and awkward young teen commits a careless act of vandalism by tossing a severed pig’s head into a mosque in his hometown of Shirley Falls, Maine on a whim, never realizing the furor his actions will instigate and that he may be prosecuted for a “hate crime.”

Since his hometown is heavily populated by Muslim Somali refugees, a firestorm of outrage flares immediately and involves his mother and her two brothers in urgent damage control.

As usual, Strout’s portrayals are nuanced and complex but believable.

Jim and Bob Burgess are both attorneys but completely different personalities. Both brothers and Susan – mother of the unfortunate Zach – are still haunted by the accident that killed their father when they were young children.

While Susan remains in Shirley Falls to raise her son, both brothers flee to New York City for their careers. Jim, a dashing, handsome, successful corporate lawyer has always looked down on his warm-hearted and less ambitious brother Bob, a legal aid attorney.

Similarly, Bob seems unable to shake a feeling of inadequacy in comparison to his well-known, financially successful brother while “putting him on a pedestal” at the same time. Bob lives a low-key life in the city while his sister Susan has a sad, depressed existence as a divorced woman in their old hometown of Shirley Falls, her sadness and confusion seeming to rub off on poor Zach, an unusual child even without his Asperger-like symptoms and lack of social skills.

Zach’s crisis in Shirley Falls prompts both brothers to return to the small town where they grew up, confronting them with old memories that have haunted them into adulthood.

It doesn’t take long for their personalities and styles to clash and to dreg up old scores and heartaches.

The repercussions of the brothers’ interventions on behalf of Zach and Susan soon precipitate totally unexpected developments in their careers and personal lives. And it becomes painfully clear that Jim’s charmed existence has fatal flaws with tragic consequence.

Strout weaves the tales of the Burgess family deftly with tremendous insight and detail. Her view into the plight of Muslim refugees is also well considered and enlightening.

If you enjoy rich character development and social commentary, you will love this novel but – be warned! – this is not a happy book.

The writing is wonderful, the saga both moving and current but the outlook is often just sad.
Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge.
 
She lives in New York but often writes about rural New England.

(Sandy Palmer is an independent bookseller, providing books to customers via www.wyeastonline.com
)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 06/01/2013
Welcome and happy gardening to our fellow gardeners out there in the Mountain community. 

Once again we are celebrating the wonderful season of summer and the exciting joys of gardening.  
Because of the recent news of this columnists’ (Regina’s) illness, many have asked if the article will continue.  Yes, definitely yes as the dear Lord permits! 

This article has been an outreach and a personal ministry for this writer in the last three years.  It has been a joy of mine with Rochelle’s help to better educate and inform people on the Mountain of the pure joy of Simply Gardening. 

With that comes the peace of knowing and experiencing the presence of God our creator and savior more abundantly.

For me, God is the center of all things and when God is left out of life itself, our little universe fades and falls apart like a leaf separated from its branch. 

It took a hospital visit for this writer to see death from the other side and learn to value life’s true treasure. 

And the power of prayer?  Rochelle’s mom who suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage recently was brought back to us for now with the help of prayer from so many of you. She might not be here today if you hadn’t have prayed. 

God bless you one and all, and until next time may you have the joy and peace of simply gardening. 
Your Old Room May Already Be A Hot Tub by Ned Hickson on 06/01/2013
To this year’s graduates:

As you cross the stage to receive your diploma, remember that you’re crossing a brand new threshold in your young life. That’s because, in most cases, your parents have already arranged for the contents of your room to be hauled onto the front lawn and sold, probably during the graduation ceremony itself.

Or maybe even at the graduation ceremony itself:

“Before we call our next graduate, I’d like to turn your attention to the roller blades I’m wearing. They, along with other items belonging to Billy Schlependorf, will be available for purchase after the ceremony in the courtyard.”

That’s right; by the time you get home, you’ll be lucky if you’re room still has the same light switch. I know this may sound harsh, but it is something that parents do out of LOVE. It’s about your parents helping you make that important transition into independence, even if it means turning your bedroom into patio space between the new hot tub and gazebo.

I know it’s hard to believe, but that’s how much your parents are willing to sacrifice in order to help you find your place in the world — which, by the way, doesn’t include living in the attic, basement or any of the utility closets. This means finding a job. Something that will allow you to apply the cumulative knowledge you’ve acquired through years of higher education. It means competing in today’s tough job market against like-minded graduates.

It means, in many cases, a career in the food service industry.

For those who might be contemplating this opportunity (or who might be wearing a hair net at this very moment), keep in mind that some of the world’s most successful business people got their start in the food service industry. And keep in mind that just because I can’t think of any right now doesn’t mean it’s not true, because I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere. Really.

Okay. Fine.

I’m a big fat liar.

It doesn’t mean that working in fast food can’t be rewarding. In fact, ask any journalist, and they will tell you that there’s nothing more rewarding than being a fry cook. To prove it, I’m going to stop writing at this very moment and pose this question to each of my fellow journalists here in the newsroom.

You see?

Just as I expected: every reporter I talked to agreed that there is nothing more rewarding than being a fry cook. [Editor: Please note that you are surrounded by big fat liars.]

So, what does all of this mean exactly?

For you graduates, it means taking your first steps into the world on your own. As you do, I’d suggest you stop by that table in the court yard.

You never know when a cheap pair of roller blades might come in handy.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439)
June Will See Normal Temps, but Drier by Herb Miller on 06/01/2013
ve us a preview of summer with high temperatures averaging 12 degrees above normal. After that, the rains returned and weather returned to what we usually expect for May.

In fact, Government Camp got blanketed with some snow at the start of the third week. But precipitation was relatively light and failed to offset the deficit caused by the dry period during the first 12 days.

The National Weather Service continues to observe colder than average surface water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean bordering the west coasts of both North and South America. Prevailing winds over this cold water lowers the temperatures in our area enough to moderate the forecast for June temperatures to be about average – although east of the Cascades is expected to be slightly above average.

Precipitation is expected to be drier than average.

During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68 degrees, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 4.34 inches.

Six of the last 10 years had highs in the 80s, and two years had highs reaching 100. Only one year failed to make it above the 70s, and the other got into the 90s. The record high of 100 was recorded this decade on both June 26, 2006 and June 28, 2008. Low temperatures routinely fall into the low 40s or upper 30s, the record low of 35 being set on June 11, 1981.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during June is 59 degrees, the average low is 41, with an average precipitation amount of 3.88 inches, including an average of .6 inches of snow. High temperatures reached into the 80s four years during the past 10, with only one year failing to get above the 60s. The other five years settled for the 70s. The record high of 92 was set on June 17, 1961, closely followed by a 91 set on June 23, 1992, and recently a high of 89 was recorded on June 21, 2006. Only one year had a low temperature dropping to 29 degrees during the past 10 years, all others leveled off in the 30s. The record low temperature of 23 degrees was set June 3, 1963, followed by 29 degrees set on both June 10 and June 11 of 2008. The record snowfall was 6 inches measured on June 5, 1995, compared to the 3-inch total that fell just five years ago on June 10, 2008. Latest measurable snowfall occurred on June 18, 1996 with a 1-inch total.
Cupcakes from a Cowgirl by Geoff Berteau on 06/01/2013
It’s a fact. Everyone loves a cupcake.

With Cowgirl Cupcake, a mobile cupcakery now located on Centennial Plaza in downtown Sandy, there’s no need to rein in your desire for this tasty confection. Mosey on over and tempt your palate with flavors such as Madagascan Vanilla Bean, Orange Creamsicle, Lemon Cream and Chocolate Merlot.
Corrine Konell, owner of Cowgirl Cupcake, has always been enthused about baking.

 “This is my calling, this is what I am passionate about,” Konell said. “I have always enjoyed baking ever since I was very young, and love when I am able to express myself creatively. With cupcakes, it allows me to do just that, from piping a swirl of icing onto a single cupcake, to designing a 300-tier cupcake display.”

As a baker with a dairy and gluten intolerance, Konell realizes that it can be challenging to find good tasting and quality food. A variety of cupcakes to suit all dietary needs including gluten free, sugar free and vegan cupcakes are offered, all without sacrificing taste or good ingredients.

Describing herself as a very health conscious person, Konell uses only the best ingredients in her cupcakes, including organic cane sugar, unbleached premium flour and coconut flour from Bob’s Red Mill, milk from cows not treated with growth hormones, cage-free eggs from local farms, natural Mexican vanilla, local organic berries, and 100 percent Tobago cocoa. Dyes are minimized, and Konell utilizes berry and fruit juices directly from the source to add color to her creations.

“Good ingredients bring out true flavors and make everything more rich and moist,” Konell said. “That is why it is so important to me that only quality, all-natural ingredients are used, as well as organic when possible.”

Ashley Sandell, of Sandy, has been a cupcake customer from Cowgirl Cupcake since Konell first started her business.

“They are amazing,” she said. “Really good, and I like that she uses natural ingredients. The cupcakes are a big hit with my family for birthday parties.”

More menu items will be added shortly, such as pie-pops, cake-pops, breakfast items and other novelty treats.

“I really stand behind my cupcakes and items I create,” Konell said. “That is why I encourage my customers to give honest feedback, so if something is not right, we will make it right.”
Cupcake hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For special orders or to contact Cowgirl Cupcake call 503-351-1163 or email Corrine@cowgirl-cupcake.com; www.cowgirl-cupcake.com .

Quail Oaks
Financial, LLC

Quail Oaks Financial, LLC of Sandy has been selected for the 2013 Best of Sandy Award in the Payroll Services category by the Sandy Award Program.

The Sandy Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Sandy area.

Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value to the community.

Frances Berteau is filling in The Biz End for Geoff Berteau's hiatus to Thailand.

Environmental Exposures Can Cause Problems by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2013
More than 300,000 new chemicals have been introduced into the world in the last 60 years. It takes years for our bodies to learn to recognize new strains of wheat, for instance, so I wonder how long it takes for our bodies to figure out synthetic chemicals.
 
Our endocrine systems don’t readily know how to respond to synthetic substances . Toxic overload is everywhere in our environment. A recent study of 2,400 people tested for levels of flame retardants (PBDEs) and every single person had high levels. Another study of 528 people showed that 438 of them had toxicity in their bloodstreams. Perflourooctananates (PFOAs) are in 100 percent of us. Found in clothing, household, and personal care items, they can lead to infertility, late pregnancy, and menstrual irrecularities.

Of course, everything from cigarette smoking to obesity can contribute to problems and disease states, but maybe it’s time to look at environmental exposures. Even low dose exposure to chemicals can cause endocrrine problems. Chemicals like Polychlorinated Biphenols (PCBs) are used as plasticizers and adhesives in industry.
 
But PCBs have found their way into our food supply, primarily in dairy, fish and meat.

Sensitive times for exposure to synthetic chemicals are: in utero, during the first few years of life, at puberty, and during disease states. As we age, we become more toxic, but caution must be used at delicate stages of life. Infants are thin skinned and their bones are thinner, allowing chemicals to cross the brain barrier and radiation to enter their developing brains. Puberty is a time of hormonal fluctuation, perhaps caused, at least in part, by exposure to toxins and radiation.

Chemicals are lipophilic, meaning they love fat. Growing brains are composed of fast growing fat cells and the blood brain barrier offers limited protection. We are exposed to chemicals daily. Not just in our air, food, and water, but also in carpets, clothing, cookware, metals and plastics.

PCBs from farmed fish show up in toddlers who have difficulty in brain function even if they’re never eaten fish! The pesticide DDT, though outlawed years ago in the United States, is still found in the bloodstreams of all Americans. Symptoms include decreased clarity of vision, decreased cognitivie function, fatigue, and “strange sensations in the head” like standing on uneven ground or the sensation of leaning off balance.

Development disabilities have increased 17 percent in the last few years. Depression is on the rise. Pesticides account for much of our chemical exposure. An outlawed pesticide, Parathion, was illegally sprayed on some homes in the early 1990s. Half of the residents suffered suicidal depression.
Teen suicide may be on the rise due to exposures to synthetic chemicals. Let’s face it, the diet of many teens tends to be the high fat diet of cheap burgers, fries and sodas. Alas, this may be the diet of many grown-ups too. These are the worst foods you could be consuming, especially on a daily basis. Helping our teens eat better may be just one step in reducing teen suicide rates. And adult depression as well.

Personally, I think we need to move fast in cleaning up our environment. Why wait for this connection to disease to be “studied.” Clean up your air with a high quality air filter. Clean up your diet with fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products. Try to avoid plastic packaging, plastic wrap, and food storage containers. Or use these products only briefly and transfer foods to glass or stainless steel bowls and containers as soon as possible. Never, ever heat anything edible in a plastic container in the microwave.

Avoid plastic water and juice bottles especially during the warm season. This is hard, I know, when supplying kids at sports practice with water. But remember, there was life before plastic. Consider a metal water cooler or a glass tea dispenser with water for the kids. Be nice and slice a few lemons or oranges into the water and the kids may readily accept the change in delivery system.

Be careful with beauty, grooming and cleaning products. Realize that just because it is sold over-the-counter(OTC) does not necessarily mean it’s safe. Eat better, fresher, whole foods and go easy on the supplements, especially those sold OTC or on-line.

You can do this.
We all MUST do this.

Sure “somethins’ gonna’ getcha” in the long run, but let’s not have it be environmental synthetic chemicals.

(Victoria Larson is a naturopathic doctor and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 05/01/2013
I recently teamed up with Rep. Bill Kennemer, former Clackamas County Commissioner, on HB 2945. It’s a bill to create an area commission on transportation for our local rural communities.

Normally I am hesitant to consider adding an extra layer of oversight, but I truly believe that in east Clackamas and Multnomah counties, opportunities for road improvements have been missed and having a commission in place would serve to prioritize us much better up on the Mountain. Also co-sponsoring this bill is every single legislator from Clackamas County no matter what party they belong to. Everyone understands that too often we get forgotten.

What we are trying to do is form what’s called an ACT (Area Commission on Transportation). Throughout Oregon, all areas (everywhere!) are represented by an ACT or something similar except our area. That is because we fall within ODOT Region 1 which includes Metro, known to throw its weight around.

So far, no ACT has been created within Region 1 and the product has been that when roads are discussed, areas outside of Metro are more susceptible to being misrepresented.

In areas of Oregon demographically similar to our own, like in Lane County, ACTs have shown tremendous success for local needs. They allow local citizens to provide input that people in Portland wearing suits wouldn’t necessarily know. Currently, 60 percent of Clackamas County’s State highways (287 miles) are unrepresented by a local commission, trusting only ODOT Region 1 for equitable road funding.

Having an ACT in place would give our communities all the way up Hwy. 26 a leg up in prioritizing transportation projects and in theory have greater bargaining power with ODOT. Imagine what we could accomplish if a commission was in place to submit priorities to ODOT on what we feel we need as our own region. This is currently not being done, and that is why Bill Kennemer and I are fighting for this.

Also, time is winding down to come visit me during the legislature down in Salem! Please email me at: sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us. and we’ll schedule a time for you to come down for a day.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 05/01/2013
April 18 was a significant day in the course of this 2013 Legislative Session. This was the date by which legislation must be passed out of committees in the chamber from which the bill originated.

In other words, all House bills had to be on their way to the Senate and Senate bills on their way to the House.

Now the political landscape changes.

The topics that we will be considering on the floor will change from moving bills that were submitted by members to some of the key measures that are needed to balance the budget and to deal with the larger issues that face our state.

In the last week of April, we took votes on PERS reform and a bill that would have raised $275 million in new revenue (taxes). The concepts are related.

On July 1, Oregon is facing a huge increase in the rates that our public employers must pay into PERS. This increase is due to the unfunded liability of the PERS system. Without action by the Legislature or the PERS board, $900 million dollars will come out of our public services in the next biennium.

This will impact the budgets for education, health care, public safety, and cities and counties around the state.

There have been dozens of PERS reform bills introduced this session to try to address this situation. The House voted on and passed SB 822—the only PERS reform bill that has received a hearing this session. It passed on a straight party line vote with all Democrats supporting and all Republicans opposing.

I voted no because the bill is a half-hearted attempt at PERS reform and it means the Legislature will be forced to deal with the issue again two years from now.

Speaker Kotek insists that SB 822 contains all of the PERS reforms her caucus is willing to consider.
Because of this, they are forced to raise taxes so they can keep funding promises that they have made to our K-12 schools. On April 24, we voted on the Democrat plan to raise $275 million in new taxes on the private sector. Their plan failed.

Oregon’s economy remains weak and the recovery from the recession is fragile. Residents of the Mountain area know this. Before we can consider taking any more money out of the private sector, we must first reform the cost drivers that are taking money out of school budgets as well as hurting cities and counties.

Over the next month, I will continue to work hard to have the Legislature take a serious look at PERS reforms.

If we do so, we can provide vital help to our public services and protect hard working Oregonians from more tax increases.
Runaway Girls Rock a Valley by Sandra Palmer on 05/01/2013
We get to know Talmadge only gradually but Amanda Coplin quietly builds a riveting portrait of her protagonist in “The Orchardist” – a strong and complex man who loves the land while he is haunted by past losses.

The author grew up in Washington’s Wenatchee Valley and lyrically evokes the calm mood of a simpler era when fruit was sold by the grower in bushels brought to town by mule-drawn wagon.

After 40 years of tending his apple, apricot and plum orchards in a remote valley, Talmadge’s life is rocked by the unexpected appearance to two young runaway girls, heavily pregnant after escaping a rough brothel run by a cruel, drug addicted scoundrel. The girls are ravenously hungry and desperate.

Their plight deeply touches Talmadge who reaches out with food offerings and safety in his fields and grounds in spite of the risk to himself.

Caring for the two runaways – Jane and Della – opens up his heart but also dredges up the wounds of his past. Talmadge lost his father in a silver mine accident when he was very young and that loss was soon followed by his mother’s death. Then – most profoundly – came the disappearance of his beloved sister who ventured into the forest to collect plants and never returned.

It is this unexplained loss that haunts Talmadge most deeply. Was she abducted or murdered? Did she choose to leave for some inexplicable reason? Did he fail to search thoroughly enough to uncover her fate?

His care of his young charges, while fulfilling, only reminds him more profoundly of that earlier loss and the mystery that surrounds it. Still, he finds his heart opening in unexpected ways but also revealing new vulnerabilities – especially as he cares for Angelene, Della’s surviving child.

The community’s herbalist and midwife, Caroline Middey, provides insight into Talmadge’s state of mind as she helps him to care for the girls and then the infant Angelene. Her easy rapport with Talmadge has developed over many years as she nursed him back to health after his sister’s disappearance and since then as a nearby neighbor. They continue to support each other with a friendship that goes beyond words or formalities and that reveals the culture on the frontier in those days.

This relationship is just another way this graceful novel explores an unconventional yet profound definition of family.

Talmadge also has a well-established relationship with a group of Nez Perce horse wranglers who utilize his property each year while taming wild horses they have captured. Della is fascinated by the wildness of the horses and soon forsakes Talmadge, the orchard and her infant daughter for a vagabond life with horses and the Nez Perce horsemen – a choice that takes this gentle tale in unexpected directions.

“The Orchardist” is an amazing accomplishment by a rising star in the Northwest’s literary landscape. In parts gentle and lyrical or gritty and devastating, Amanda Coplin’s novel is a unique literary experience that should not be missed.

Amanda Coplin received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, and now resides in Portland.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)

Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 05/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner snuggled beneath our majestic Mount Hood. 

Here we are in the month of May, the season of lilacs and apple blossoms. The deciduous trees have pretty well leafed out, the oaks being a bit slower than the rest, and the songbirds are in full swing from dawn until dusk. 

Be sure to keep seed in your bird feeder to attract the summertime residents.  The house finch is one such bird that provides a lot of color to the surroundings as they (the males) display their red crown and breast. Given the proper environment, they will nest in your backyard and bring their fledglings to the bird feeders, which is quite entertaining. Their voice is a series of warbling notes often followed by a harsh note. 

This is the time of year when we start surrounding our decks and patios with hanging baskets, not only for color but for Mother’s Day too.

Be sure your baskets are displayed in the proper locations. Fuchsias should not be hung in full sun, while geraniums and petunias should not be hung in full shade. The bacopas are a bit more tolerant and will take sun or partial shade just as well. 

The herb we would like to expound upon this month is the rosemary.

The ancients believed it strengthened memory, restored youth, stimulated the heart and induced sleep.  Rosemary is a traditional European treatment for people suffering from poor circulation. In past years, the scent was used to purify the air in French hospitals. Rosemary takes full sun and has a pleasant but pine-like taste. A tonic can be used from the leaves and flowers of young tender tips.  Just add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried material per cup of boiling water. Cover and steep 10-15 minutes and there you have it. 

Until next time, have a peaceful and joyful time of simply gardening. 
Mother's Day Cards Have No Rhymes For 'Episiotomy' by Ned Hickson on 05/01/2013
Soon, it will be Mother’s Day. For many of you, it means sending a flowery card that says all the wonderful things you’d say if only you had a thesaurus and someone from Hallmark breathing down your neck. The truth is, the meaning of Mother’s Day has been lost over the years thanks to stupid greeting cards filled with heartfelt phrases like:

If your love was an ocean, you would’ve drowned me as a child.

Or,

When I think of love, I think of you. Because of this, you have no grandchildren.

Or,

With every smile, I remember a special moment that will never ever be forgotten — Happy belated Mother’s Day!


The true meaning of Mother’s Day, as any mother will tell you, has absolutely nothing to do with flowery cards or fond memories — and everything to do with sacrifice. That’s right. You want to let Mom know you really care? Forget about comparing her to “a beautiful rose laden with thorns of caring,” and, instead, remember all the stuff she endured for you even before you HAD a memory. If you’re not sure where to begin, I have two words for you:

Breast Pump.

True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough to be grateful. If you don’t believe me, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the “on” button, and keep it there until your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal.

Then switch sides.

Repeat this process three times a day for at least six months, WITHOUT the aid of alcohol.
And remember that breast pumping came after nine months of losing control over most of her bodily functions, including — but not limited to — food cravings. These cravings came as a direct result of your needs inside the womb, even though, in many cases, those needs could gag a contestant on Fear Factor.

But she did it anyway, in spite of the fact that, as you were developing and shaping, so was she: Developing swollen feet the size of couch cushions, and taking the shape of a giant Weeble capable of destroying Tokyo.

Keep in mind that during this process, she was still merrily preparing for your arrival by hanging borders, assembling mobiles, making trips to the doctor, all while visiting the bathroom once every three minutes.

Then finally, to show your appreciation upon arriving into the world, you treat her to an episiotomy.
Chances are, you won’t find any of this in a greeting card. Mainly because there are very few phrases that rhyme with “episiotomy.”

Although “The things you taught-a me since your episiotomy” has potential.

That’s why I’m mentioning it here, so that hopefully, someone, somewhere, will read this and offer me a job at Hallmark.

Okay, that’s only part of the reason.

The main reason is to say “thanks” to all you wonderful mothers out there, especially those who are celebrating their very first Mother’s Day this year.

You know who you are.

And if you don’t, try turning down that breast pump a notch or two.

(You can write to Ned at nedhickson@icloud.com, at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439, or visit his blog at www.nedhickson.wordpress.com.)
Warmer, Drier May Expected by Herb Miller on 05/01/2013
April started with seasonal weather, followed by a particularly wet two days on the 6th and 7th during which Brightwood received 36 percent of its precipitation total for the month. A short wintry period started on the 13th bringing snow to the Mountain, and even Brightwood got a 2 inch blanket. Seasonal weather then returned until the last week of the month when we were treated to another taste of spring and abundant sunshine. The temperatures averaged out fairly close to normal for the month.

The National Weather Service reports there are no indicators showing a departure from the normal temperature averages for the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean and most other observations are close to normal. Our area is forecast to expect about average temperatures for May, although a bit drier than average.

During May, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 5.87 inches. Over the last 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 90s three times, into the 80s during four years, and into the 70s three times. The record high of 99  occurred May 6, 1987, and more recently a 95 degree high was set on May 27, 2005. During the past 10 years, a high of 90 degrees or higher occurred seven times, and a low of 32 degrees or colder also occurred seven times. The record low temperature of 29 degrees was set on May 2, 2006 and the latest freezing temperature was set May 20, 2006. The only measurable snowfall in more than 35 years was a 2-inch amount that fell only three years ago on May 5, 2010.

During May, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 63 degrees, an average low of 43, and a precipitation average of 5.24 inches, including 6 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, three have made it into the 80s, four into the 70s, two into the 60s and one year couldn’t get above the 50s. The record high of 93 degrees was set May 31, 1986. Low temperatures during the past 10 years have routinely leveled off in the 20s with the exception of two years that recorded lows of 32. The record low of 18 was set May 1, 1954.

The record snowfall of 13 inches was measured rather recently on May 11, 2000. Over the past 30 years, the average for the latest freezing temperature is June 4 and the last measurable snowfall averages May 16.
Therapy and a Tidy Trim by Geoff Berteau on 05/01/2013
Mt. Hood Massage celebrated its Grand Opening on April 20 with a packed house.

“It was really busy, an amazing turnout,” owner Molly Stein said. “I was really surprised. We did 34 complimentary treatments in three hours.”

As a former daily commuter to Tualatin, Stein explained that she wanted to be closer to her two-year-old, her home, family and friends, and had always dreamed of opening her own massage therapy practice.

“So I did something about it, and created a new job doing what I really love to do – massage therapy,” Stein said.

Stein moved to Oregon when she was 11 years old. Growing up in Welches she spent many hours snowboarding on Mount Hood. She recently bought her first home here and loves the northwest.
 
“It has definitely shaped who I am today,” she said.

Stein became licensed for massage in 2006 completing her training at Ashmead College in Vancouver, Wash., and has practiced professionally on and off ever since. As a child she remembers “practicing” on her family and friends, and explained that she has always been gifted with her hands.

“I really enjoy what I do,” she added.

As a massage facility, Mt. Hood Massage offers full-body massage, covering massage for general relaxation, hot stone therapies, deep tissue for more specific needs or injuries, as well as pre-natal massage for a mother-to-be.

Stein has a passion specific to treatment work, such as deep tissue, hot/cold stone massage, sports injuries, muscular disorders, trigger point therapy and myofascial release, understanding the importance of both Eastern and Western medicine.

Her vision for Mt. Hood Massage is that it will grow into a more “whole” holistic healing center for the residents and guests of the villages on the Mountain, with a line of products for sale such as body scrubs, essential oils and tintures.

For those individuals or couples who do not want to leave home or lodging facilities on the Mountain, or for events and special occasions, Mt. Hood Massage will go to you. They are fully mobile.

The storefront is located at 24540 Welches Road, just behind Thriftway and next to McKenzie Dental.
They can be reached at 503-564-9364. https://www.facebook.com/MtHoodMassage

Altitude Hair Design

Kimberly Coe is picking up her shears as the new owner of the Altitude Hair Design located in the Hoodland Shopping Center as of May 14.

Originally from the Los Angeles area, Coe has spent the last 10 years in Portland and lived locally for two years.

Always wanting her own salon, Coe is delighted to have the opportunity to be in the Mountain area and to get to know the community better.

When Coe is not styling hair, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and animals. An avid traveler, she has explored the states and parts of Europe, being particularly fond of Italy with their laid-back lifestyle.

Coe’s most memorable trip was Morocco,

“It’s unlike any place I have been. Fez being my favorite. Learning the culture and how the children are so happy with very little, it was an eye opener really,” she said.

Coe brings with her 25 years of experience and plans to carry products such as Biolage, Pureology, American Crew and Woody’s, all of which are cruelty free, and her color line includes Goldwell and Redken. Coe proposes to add or change more lines as she listens to clients’ needs.

Coe’s training includes Goldwell, Redken and Schwarzkopf, the Vidal Sasson academy and countless cutting classes to continue to educate herself as styles change.

Altitude Hair Design is located in the Thriftway Shopping Center and can be reached at 503-622-5852.

by Frances Berteau, for Geoff Berteau/MT
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 04/01/2013
I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why I voted “no” on the Columbia River Crossing.

The new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River was a concept I tried hard to support ever since I was first put on the committee for it, but in the end I just couldn’t justify it.

HB 2800 still passed the Senate 18-11, and now it is up to the State of Washington to decide if they support the bridge as well.

To start, I need to point out that all special interests in the Capitol wanted a yes vote. This included groups that gave me money in my campaign back in 2010.

For a guy in his first term, like me, that creates a lot of pressure. It would be easy to just vote yes like they all wanted, but I believe that I’m down here to do a job instead.

I know that we have to invest in better infrastructure – especially in our area. This bridge, unfortunately, will hinder that more than help. With $450 million in taxpayer money pledged from Oregon to fund CRC, that is $450 million that won’t be dispersed around the state for other key road projects.

That number is so high, that we will be unable to afford any new projects for quite some time – and there are still densely populated places in my district that still do not have paved roads. Ultimately, we can all read between the lines and conclude this will lead to a gas tax increase in a few years.

While I was on the CRC committee trying to justify the project, I continued to receive a lot of constituent feedback. Folks from around the district were emailing me expressing deep concerns about the bridge. The ratio of opposition to support among those who wrote in was about 10:1, and that is a message no elected official should ever ignore.

A portion of why I voted the way I did came directly from listening.

As always, I invite anybody interested to come visit me in the State Senate. It’s my favorite part of the job when we get visitors. My office is always open, and you can email me at sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us.
Monthly Updates from Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 04/01/2013
Two years ago the Legislature experienced a historic session—an even 30-30 split of Republicans and Democrats in the House and a closely divided Senate which led to legislative accomplishments that were praised throughout the state and recognized nationally. During that time, we succeeded in balancing the budget with available revenues, not increased taxes. We passed bipartisan policies that will bring long-needed reforms to our public education system.

Throughout the 2011 session, there was an intentional effort to try and help Oregon’s private sector regain its health, or at the minimum, to do no further harm.

This session, it appears that “jobs”—and job creation, for that matter—is a four-letter word. It’s simply not something discussed out loud.

Instead of focusing on legislation that can strengthen our weak economy and help put people back to work, the new Democrat majority in the House has chosen to pursue a path that favors special interests over small businesses and rolls back choice and local control in education.

Here are a few examples:

Thus far, committee agendas related to business and consumer affairs have been dominated by bills that would make it more difficult for small businesses to operate and more expensive for consumers.
One such bill would require that prevailing wage laws apply to all development that occurs in Enterprise Zones regardless of whether these are publicly or privately financed projects. It is strongly opposed by cities, counties and ports, and would likely make any development that happens in these areas more expensive.

The result would be fewer jobs and less economic benefit to our communities.

In my Energy and Environment committee, we heard a bill that would effectively overrule existing state and federal oversight of pesticide use in Oregon, and give cities, counties and community associations the ability to regulate as they see fit.

The net effect would be a patchwork of pesticide regulations that would create chaos in Oregon’s agricultural community. It could prove to be devastating to the world famous fruit industry in the Hood River Valley.

In the last part of March, there have been hearings on bills that would roll back education legislation that was passed in the previous session and remove a family’s ability to choose a school district that would be the best fit for their children.

There are also attempts to take away school district’s ability to contract out for certain services so that they can operate as efficiently as possible.

And lastly, but importantly, despite having an additional $1.7 billion in new general fund revenue this biennium, there are more than a dozen bills being considered that would effectively raise taxes on hard-working Oregonians.

In 2011, we balanced the budget without raising your taxes.

The truth is, two years can make quite a difference in your government.

That being said, even though the playing field may have changed, my priorities remain the same. I will continue to work hard to protect our businesses from unnecessary regulations, look for ways to stimulate economic growth by supporting job creating policies, and help strengthen our public education system through common sense means.

I am honored to be able to represent House District 52 and will press onward through the challenges we are facing to make our communities, and all of Oregon a better place to live, work and raise our families.
You Aren't All Bad; Neither is Your Bacteria by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2013
We share this earth with so many species, though many, many species become extinct on a daily basis.

Yet there are more bacteria on earth than any other species. Several trillion live in your gastro-intestinal tract alone.

If that makes you say “eeuw” please realize that most bacteria are beneficial to us. They help us digest our food and absorb nutrients.

 There are more than 2,000 species of Corybacterium simulans that live in the crook of our elbows alone. They keep more harmful skin bacteria at bay. 2,359 species of Staphylococcus acnes live behind our ears. Their purpose is to inhibit the growth of fungi and yeast on the skin, though when out of balance may contribute to acne.

And have you ever seen the famous electron microscope photos of the bacterial critters that live in our eyelashes alone?

Whew.

More than 10,000 bacterial species live on the tongue and in the throat in order to prevent tooth decay, throat infections, and even meningitis. That is unless you use an anti-bacterial mouthwash, which kills “99.9 percent of germs.”

But do you know for how long? For about 99.9 seconds! Hardly worth the effort.

A healthy mouth might release an odor of whatever you’ve recently ingested but it shouldn’t smell “bad” unless you have dental/gum problems, or digestive problems.

Advertising spending in the U.S. amounts to billions of dollars. Over 140 billions of dollars in fact. All in order to get us to BUY products we think we can’t live without.

Like anti-bacterial soap, mouthwash, and cleaning products. Food advertising accounts for a mere 7 billion dollars annually, though we hardly ever see an ad for fresh vegetables!

Medical costs in the U.S. give us even more staggering numbers. We spend more than $264 billion on cancer, 175 billion more on diabetes, and 450 billion on heart disease care.

Hmmm...

Let’s think about this.

We spend billions on advertising (mostly) packaged foods in order to have higher medical costs than most nations worldwide. We also spend more on medical drugs than most developed countries. I’m not the only one who thinks this makes us one of the sickest nations on earth and we are somewhere near the bottom of the list of happiest nations.

 So what is wrong here?

Part of the problem stems from the time of WW II when “other uses” were being discovered for leftover war chemicals. DDT was the ‘miracle product” used in Europe during the war to ward off diseases brought on by bugs. Used even more widely in the U.S. it became the time the old organic gardening movement split from the “new” chemical movement. Prior to DDT, all gardening was organic. Just like prior to allopathy, all medicine was naturopathic.

Banned in the U.S. in 1972 due to evidence that DDT was affecting the reproductive rates of bird species, it nonetheless is still found in the environment worldwide. Subsequent research shows DDT to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). It continues to be used in other countries, which is one reason we should limit our consumption of foods from foreign countries.

But the damage has been done, especially to the over 50-year-old crowd who is now back-pedaling in order to thrive.

In addition, a recent study on longevity found that people in the U.S. die earlier than in other developed countries like Canada, Germany and Japan. In fact, the rate of dying due to health concerns is far higher than the rate of death from guns, car accidents or drug addiction.
Do we have a misguided focus?

Well, we Americans eat about 4,000 calories per day, higher than any other country studied. Caloric intake should be less than half of that daily.

Death rates from heart disease comes in at about 130 per 100,000, which is higher than 15 other peer countries.

I am sorry to say, but the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is at 12 percent, which puts us as the same level as Africa.

 Do you suppose that any of this is due to the fact we are fighting ourselves?
 
If we have tens of thousands of appropriate bacteria on our skin alone, should we be trying to constantly kill them off?

If 34,000 different species of bacteria live in the large intestine alone, should we be putting them all to death with antibiotics repeatedly?

Recent news stories reveal the alarm in the medical community about the overuse of antibiotics worldwide.

Perhaps it is finally time to look at alternative ways of dealing with illnesses in the United States.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
Love Story Duality: A Marriage and a Mountain by Sandra Palmer on 04/01/2013
 “Tell me the story of Everest,” she said, a fervent smile sweeping across her face, creasing the corners of her eyes. “Tell me about this mountain that’s stealing you away from me.”

Living on Mount Hood, we know well the allure of a mountain and many in our community understand first-hand the spell that attempting a difficult climb can cast on a person who is determined to reach the summit.

In “Above All Things” talented novelist Tanis Rideout takes us along on George Mallory’s third expedition to climb Mount Everest, confidently interweaving the love story of his marriage with the real-life adventure tale. We see the hardships and challenges of the climbing team contrasted with the fear and pain of separation of those left behind – primarily, Mallory’s wife Ruth who keeps up a brave front for the public while wrestling with personal demons and worries during her husband’s ill-fated third attempt to summit the earth’s highest peak.

I loved this book from the very first page. The writing is wondrous and filled with insight and amazing perspective into the historical characters. The portrait Ms. Rideout paints of George and Ruth’s passionate marriage is personal and dramatic. And the tales of the mountain in all its power and its beauty truly bring the awe of the icy terrain and difficulty of the ascent alive for the reader.

We feel deep sadness when a young child accompanying the climbing party at the lower elevations drowns in an icy glacial river while we also rejoice in the impromptu hockey game played by the climbers on a beautiful icy blue, smoothly frozen “lake” as they climb to establish base camps that prepare for their final push to the peak.

However, I kept reading in fear as I know the tragic details of how the story ends – afraid to love George Mallory and his young climbing companion Sandy Irvine who never returned from their historic attempt on the summit, an attempt still partly shrouded in mystery.

We certainly have many clues now to assist a talented novelist to fill in the blanks of their compelling tale as George Mallory’s body was finally discovered in 1999 and its condition, his equipment and its location on the mountain all offer evidence of how tragedy played out on the massive Himalayan peak, ending Mallory’s third attempt to claim the prize of climbing Everest first.

Did he reach the summit that day before a tragic fall?

Opinions vary and the controversy rages to the present day.

When asked why he had to climb Everest, Mallory famously replied, “Because it is there.”

A love story, a larger-than-life adventure and a magnificent view of still fascinating and controversial events – this historical novel has it all!

 Tanis Rideout was born in Belgium but she grew up in Bermuda and in Kingston, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. She became interested in climber George Mallory while working at an outdoor equipment shop.

“Above All Things” is her first novel.

(Sandra Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 04/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our beautiful white mountain, glistening in a mantle of spring snow. 

The skies are blue and the white fleecy clouds form images of bunnies, whales, birds and any other creature you choose to imagine in the vast firmament.

When we add to this picture the alders draped with their catkins of red and the cottonwoods’ fresh leaves of bright gold, we once again realize we are truly blessed with the variable scenery on the Mountain!

As the days lengthen and the sun’s rays penetrate and warm the soil, it is time for us gardeners to begin clearing our garden beds and adding amendments for our first spring planting. 

We have waited all winter for this and now the time has finally arrived. The perennial beds should be cleaned carefully by hand, so as not to disturb any roots. It’s now quite safe to plant lettuce, peas, radishes, onions and cabbage up here on the Mountain in your newly prepared beds. It’s also a good time to set out strawberry plants, especially the ever bearing varieties. A favorite of gardeners is the “rose” strawberry that is not only a wonderful ground cover because of its deep pink flowers, but also a great producer of luscious berries that fruit all summer and into fall.

By the way, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to prune your butterfly bushes down to a foot or 6 inches from the ground. Your rose bushes can be pruned quite severely as well and fertilized with an organic rose food that contains alfalfa meal. 

As our lawn grasses begin to green you may be dismayed to see yellow blooms appearing in the form of dandelions, showing up here and there in little mats. Dandelions are actually a very valuable herb and are higher in beta carotene than carrots. They are wonderful in salads and a traditional spring tonic. The Chinese have prescribed the plants for more than 1,000 years in treating colds, pneumonia, hepatitis, boils and ulcers. They have also used a poultice of chopped dandelions to treat breast cancer. All of these details can give us a more respectful view of this lovely weed.

As we are spending more time outdoors we will notice more bird activity because the birds are coming back. We may be startled by a loud “bang, bang, bang” coming from the side of a metal building or gate. Close investigation usually reveals a northern red shafted flicker drumming away to attract a mate. These beautiful birds are of the woodpecker family. They have red undersides to their wings, a long bill, stiff tail, black crested bib and white rump. Their under parts are black spotted and their upper bodies are barred brown. They feed on the ground for ants and in trees for fruit. Finally, their call is a loud “woika, woika, woika.” 

Until next time, may you have peace and joy in simply gardening.
Spring Officially Starts Once You Mow Over Your Hibachi by Ned Hickson on 04/01/2013
The official start of spring is here.

I know this because I received a Sears catalogue depicting what appears to be an all-American family taking time off from its busy modeling schedule to cook hamburgers on a brand new stainless steel grill large enough to accommodate an entire side of bull elk.

As you would expect, children were in the yard squirting each other with water toys and running barefoot over a perfectly manicured lawn which, judging from the size of the family dog, must be self-cleaning.
Mom was nearby, well oiled and laying on a lawn chair in her bathing suit, still recovering from her recent Victoria’s Secret lingerie shoot in the Bahamas.

Around the Hickson household, spring starts out a little differently. I was reminded of this yesterday as I stood in our back yard, waist-deep in weeds, swatting at a mosquito with a rusty spatula and trying to remember the last time I saw our hibachi.

Each year, I promise myself I won’t begin the spring by embarrassing our entire family.

And each year, a search and rescue team finds me whimpering somewhere in our back yard, surrounded by weeds, laying in a fetal position next to our lawn mower.

My family has a hard time understanding this. Especially since, in most cases, I’m found less than six feet from the house.

I tell them not EVERYONE is born with a keen sense of direction, and that all of this could be avoided if I just had a riding mower with Onstar.

I generally lose this argument because, as my family points out, I could find my way out of the yard by following my own clipping path IF I didn’t insist on starting out with a crop circle every time.

That’s when I’m sent back out to mow the lawn with an orange rope tied to my belt. The mowing process can last up to several hours or, like yesterday, less than 15 minutes, depending on how long it takes me to run over the hibachi. While I can laugh about it now, I wasn’t laughing when I was blinded by a spark so intense it flash-burned the hair off my legs.

The good news is that neighbors unfortunate enough to be facing a window – any window – at that particular instant are expected to regain their sight within a few days.

However, this still leaves me with a partially mowed yard and what is now a two-piece hibachi set. On one hand, having separate grilling surfaces is nice, but only if the total net volume of what you’re cooking is equal to, or less than, one chicken drummette.

For example, I tried preparing hamburgers for our family. This process took just under four hours, the last 15 minutes of which was spent waiting in line for our order at Burgerville.

That experience has led me to consider buying a new grill. Something I can cook multiple items on, which would therefore make it large enough to avoid running over with the lawn mower.

This is particularly important to me if we go with the propane model.

Then again, if I run over THAT, it could really speed up the lawn mowing process.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com or visit his blog at nedhickson.wordpress.com.)
Chilly Spring Heading Our Way by Herb Miller on 04/01/2013
The last five days of February more than doubled the precipitation received in Brightwood during the days previously, but the month’s total of 5.65 inches was only 67 percent of average.

During those same five days, Government Camp added 29 inches of snow, ending the month with a total snowfall of 49 inches and a precipitation total of 7.22 inches.

March started with a drier than average pattern – similar to previous months – with less than half the normal precipitation through March 19. After that, winter returned with a vengeance, with colder temperatures and considerable snowfall. Brightwood got its first measurable snowfall of the month on the 22nd with a measurement of 3.25 inches. A hint of spring accompanied the last week of March with much drier weather and moderating temperatures.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have colder than average temperatures but about normal precipitation during April. For that matter, the coming spring months of April, May and June are forecast to have the same outlook.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 37, and a precipitation average of 7.61 inches, including slightly less than an inch of snow. An average of four days dip to the freezing mark or lower. Over the last 10 years high temperatures reaches into the 80s twice, into the 70s during six years, and only two years couldn’t get above the 60s. The record high of 90 occurred April 27, 1987. Lows dropped to freezing without exception. The record low of 26 was set April 12, 1978, closely approached on both April 1 and April 2 of 2008 with a reading of 27. The record snowfall of 6 inches measured in 1982 was threatened in 2008 when 5.5 inches was recorded.

During April, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 45, an average low of 30, and a precipitation average of 7.21 inches, including 24 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, three have made it into the 70s, five into the 60s, and two couldn’t get above the 50s. The record high of 80 was set in 1987, but a high of 76 was recorded April 27, 2004. Low temperatures during the past 10 years have routinely leveled off in the 20s with the exception of two years that dropped into the teens. The record snowfall of 17 inches was measured April 12, 1981 but was closely approached only two years ago with a reading of 13 inches on April 3, 2011.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 03/07/2013
We are finishing week three of the 2013 Legislative Session in Salem, and moving about as fast as you can ever expect a legislature to move – blimp speed!

If I can sum up in a sentence how best to forecast the next five months, it would be: The Governor is succeeding in pushing his priorities, the majority party is winning but appears willing to make acceptable compromises, and I will get at least some of my priorities passed.

SB 276: Some readers may remember our Rest Area Bill last year. Just last week I testified along with Senate President Peter Courtney on one of my bills to keep transparency within Oregon Travel Experience – the highly-efficient group we handed off rest area management to in order to help save the Government Camp rest stop, as well as others.

The bill makes the Secretary of State conduct an annual financial audit of OTE, providing the necessary oversight we need to keep the program sustainable.

This bill will pass.

As the session progresses, I will continue to update you on things I’m working on. There are major issues to tackle that will require citizens’ collective input and the entire legislature’s consent.

Two big ones are PERS reform where we’re talking about finding savings among the top bracket, as well as the Columbia River Crossing Project where in committee I have asked a lot of tough questions, and actually voted “no” this week mainly due to its opportunity cost.

Also, we must tackle the school funding debacle – the Governor’s budget is $600 million shy of where we need to be on the education budget. I am preparing to work on my Ways and Means Committee, with the co-chairs, to find funding that we need to bridge the gap.

I sincerely welcome anybody who wants to come down and join me for a day. It’s easy, and I’ll take you out to lunch.

Just call my office at 503-986-1726 or send us an email at sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us.
As always, I appreciate any feedback or ideas you have.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/07/2013
The election last November didn’t just result in the re-election of President Obama – it also changed the balance of power in the Oregon House. Gone was the historic and evenly split representation of 30 Republicans and 30 Democrats, and in its place is a 34-26 Democratic majority. Because the majority party has the power to choose the Speaker of the House, appoint committee members and, in most cases, determine the fate of legislation, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. How can a Republican in the minority be relevant in this type of situation? How can we pursue bipartisan solutions without an even balance of bipartisan representation?

The answer? Legislate in the margins.

As an example, in February the House Higher Education Committee approved House Bill 2787 also known as “Tuition Equity.” It is a bill that will allow undocumented Oregon high school graduates who have satisfied strict residency requirements to be eligible for paying in-state tuition at Oregon universities and colleges instead of costly out-of-state tuition. I did not support this bill in the 2011 session because I had concerns with some of its provisions. However, due to the nature of the political breakdown in our current Legislature, it is a bill that will certainly pass both the House and Senate this session and will receive Governor Kitzhaber’s support.

Rather than just saying no to the concept, I chose to get involved. I worked with other members to design a series of amendments I believe make this a better piece of legislation. Specifically, I was able to insert amendments into the bill that require that those who qualify under tuition equity to also be taxpayers.

In addition, I  was able to make sure any returning veterans would not be inconvenienced and that each year, the Oregon University System will report to the legislature the actual number of students that are admitted via tuition equity and what, if any, fiscal impact they may have. In fact, the estimate for the 2013-2015 biennium is that only 38 students would qualify for tuition equity under this legislation.

This bill will actually strengthen the pathway to immigration reform in Oregon as it requires that the student file an affidavit with the college or university showing they have filed for legal residency, or will file for legal residency as soon as they are eligible.

I’m confident the tuition equity bill will pass out of the House and be on its way to the Senate for consideration, with or without my vote. Instead of sitting idly by, I have chosen to work in the good-faith manner to try and improve the legislation. I believe it will receive greater bipartisan support because we chose to engage in the process and work together to develop the best policy possible.

To legislate in the margins means being realistic about the political realities and looking for opportunities to engage in a positive way, with a continued focus on doing my best to represent House District 52.
Inside Salem by State Sen. Chuck Thomsen on 03/07/2013
As the 77th Oregon Legislative Session in Salem is getting underway, it is again my honor and privilege to serve you as your State Senator. I will write a monthly column for The Mountain Times during this session to help keep everyone informed of the process.

I look forward to achieving more successes, since I’m no longer just a pear grower from Hood River serving a rookie freshman term!

We enjoyed good results from priorities I made in my first year, with specifics such as putting the Government Camp Rest Area in better hands, and broad goals such as balancing Oregon’s budget without raising taxes.

The main issues I see facing us this session are PERS reform, and reducing prison costs – which are each costing the state billions. This is a major reason fewer dollars can be funneled into classroom education. I appreciate that Governor Kitzhaber understands where the runaway costs are, and has set the agenda to tackle these tough issues. With them, he is making each party take tough votes in order to balance the budget.

My goal is to do what our leaders can’t seem to do at the national level – and work in a bipartisan manner to do what’s best for Oregon.

I have again been put on the main Ways and Means budget committee and the sub-committee for Agriculture and Natural Resources. My 16 years of County Commission work in Hood River really helps me in the budget process.

New for me this session, I have been appointed to the Business and Transportation Committee. I know how important transportation issues are in our area, and this should be a good committee to be on. It has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, so it has a reputation for bipartisan results.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to come visit me in Salem during the session. Call ahead and we will give you a tour, have lunch in the Capitol, and you may sit with me on the Senate floor. It is your State Capitol, so take advantage while I am down there and come visit.

Always, if you have ideas for me or just want to talk, you can contact me by my cell phone: 541-490-4641; or office phone: 503-986-1726; e-mail: sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us.

I want to thank the MT Editor Larry Berteau for the opportunity to help keep you informed during this legislative session. Stay tuned.
Inside Salem by State Rep. Mark Johnson on 03/07/2013
On January 14 the 77nd Oregon Legislature was sworn in for the next 2-year term. I was honored to be one of 90 lawmakers who took the oath of office that day, and to begin my second term as Representative for House District 52.

The election this past November brought significant changes to the Oregon House. The even 30-30 split of Republicans and Democrats in the last session that led to nationally acclaimed bi-partisan collaboration, has been replaced with a 34-26 Democrat majority.

Time will tell how well this new balance of power will govern, but the changes in House leadership has meant changes in my areas of oversight within the Chamber.

Though I am no longer a Co-Chair, I am pleased that I will remain on the House Higher Education Committee. Most of the significant education policy work in this session will pass through this committee.

The consolidation of governance and continuing to improve access and affordability of post-secondary education in Oregon will be two of my areas of focus.

I was disappointed to learn that I will not be serving on the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee this session. From the fruit industry in Hood River to the nursery industry in Clackamas County, agriculture is of vital importance to the district. In spite of not serving on the committee I will closely follow the issues to ensure our district is well represented.

A new assignment for me will be the Energy and Environment Committee. Governor Kitzhaber has proposed a 10-year energy plan for Oregon. Most of his proposals will be considered by this committee.

My priorities will be to make sure that any changes to our energy policies are favorable to our long-term economic growth and look for ways to utilize our abundant natural resources.
At the beginning of the new session many challenges await us.

Our economy continues to be fragile and job growth remains weak. The unfunded liability of PERS is inflicting serious hardships on our public sector, meaning further cuts in education, health care and public safety.

Oregon needs strong leadership to address these challenges.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to find bi-partisan solutions that can position us for a more prosperous and sustainable Oregon.
One Foot in Front of the Other by Victoria Larson on 03/02/2013
Ruby was not my first “rescued” animal, but she may have been the sweetest.

Born blind, I first saw her right-shouldering her way around a kennel at the shelter. The sign said she was a 10-month-old golden retriever, blind, one day away from “expiration.”

Now if that doesn’t tug at your heart, I don’t know what would.

 Ruby the Blind Dog became my lifeguide 14 years ago. Blindness couldn’t keep her down. She got up every morning and wagged her tail. Loved but not coddled she had the run of the farm and learned to playfully chase the cats and chickens, much to the amusement of all. For she could never catch a thing. She’d start facing in the right direction but once they moved aside it took her a second to reorient her pursuit.

The cats all learned that creeping stealthily by her while she was sleeping meant she never knew they were there.

 Abundant in her adoration of life, she tugged at everyone’s heart strings. But she was delicate. Prone to seizures as a pup (later cured with homeopathy) I never left her with others as she needed a “guide person” of her own. I once had her shaved for a particularly hot summer, but the experience was so traumatic for her that I never did it again. Even taking her to “see” Santa at Burn’s Feed (a benefit for Guide Dogs for the Blind) was too much, though even the thoroughbreds loved her.

 A “woman’s dog,” she stayed with me after the divorce, sleeping every night at the foot of my bed. Over the years she developed mild COPD (helped with nutrition and supplements) as well as hip dysplasia, causing her to drag her toes along the driveway when she went out.

But still she got up and wagged every morning encouraging me all these years just to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 The circle of life brings ebbing and flowing, good and bad. I’d noticed Ruby stumbling occasionally and taught the oldest grandson how to guide her and tell her “one step, two step” when she needed to step up onto the greenhouse porch.

In hopes of building his confidence, I gave the chosen grandson the job of caring for her while I was away. I was a day away from entering the hospital for major surgery. Routines were as usual that morning and Ruby’s never varied.

One foot in front of the other gets a blind dog where she wants to go.

 All the dogs had been jumpy for a few days previous, sensing that something was up. The other dogs in my “pack” growled at Ruby trying to keep her from her food. I chastised them, not focused enough to remember pack behavior from years of National Geographic readings or programs.

 That was the only day of her life that she did not come back to the porch. Perhaps she sensed that I would be away for a week. It was her last day.

I did all the usual stuff in search of her, but I know it was her choice to walk off and die. Animals do that sometimes. I went into the hospital and I got to live.

But the space at the end of the bed will feel pretty empty for some time.

 Life brings us challenges but Ruby taught me to keep going, to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Death, disease, divorce; these things give us pause. Time to reflect and repurpose. Maybe that’s why we have such setbacks. Everything happens for a reason.

Years ago when I sold my husband’s truck I needed help moving some things from the Schoolhouse clinic to my farm. At a time when I had little regard for men, Andrew gathered up a few of his friends and family and helped me move things all day.

One of his friends predicted I wouldn’t last a month on the farm, but Andrew backed me up.
That was seven years ago.

People have a way of coming through in times of need. Now in my post-surgery state I have had so much loving help. People brought me books, food, movies, and even firewood! Others helped by bringing groceries, pruning, and even sharpening my kitchen knives!

The wheel of life goes on.

As Ruby the Blind Dog taught me, one foot in front of the other.

From the eyes of a dog who always saw more than I ever did, I will miss you always.
 
(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
'Lost Art of Mixing' is a Feast for Loyal Readers by Sandra Palmer on 03/02/2013
Readers who enjoyed Erica Bauermeister’s little literary masterpiece “The School of Essential Ingredients” will be thrilled that she has written a sequel, revisiting Lillian’s Restaurant and many of its beloved characters while mixing in some fresh ingredients and storylines.

As we recall, Lillian is not only gifted in the kitchen but she and her restaurant also possess magical healing charms.

Set a year later, in “The Lost Art of Mixing,” we get to know Al, Lillian’s accountant, who finds meaning in working with numbers that reveal much about his clients and who develops a special appreciation for the creation of rituals to mark life’s most significant transitions.

Chloe, a developing chef, still has her emotional guard up after personal heartbreak.

Finnegan, a new dishwasher at the restaurant, is introverted but caring and especially gifted at reading the emotions of others in the restaurant.

Former cooking class participant Isabelle’s memories are becoming more and more elusive and her overly conscientious daughter Abby frets about Isabelle’s long-term care and practical, financial matters as her mother is less and less capable of being on her own.

Meanwhile, Louise, Al’s wife, is filled with anger and frustration which spills out in dramatic fashion.
Widowed Tom takes tentative steps toward a new life while still sorting through sorrow and loss, unsure if he is ready to truly start anew.

Chef Lillian herself is trying to sort out how to deal with the unexpected in her personal life as her closeness with Tom grows into potentially much more.

The reader is swept into lives “mixing” in a variety of ways as Erica Bauermeister expertly continues some storylines from “The School of Essential Ingredients” while beginning many fresh situations and relationships.

The book is told from various viewpoints and is essentially a book of linked short stories, expertly woven into a tapestry of community – a chosen family of shared experiences.

Wisely, the author includes characters of a wide range of ages and experiences, giving her readers many opportunities to relate to feelings and experiences in the novel.

And, of course, food is once more a frequent ingredient to provide a means of connection, healing and even celebration.

Erica Bauermeister’s wizardry with words is always a delight and her rich characters are touching and very real. Yet another feast for her loyal readers!

Erica Bauermeister is also the author of “The School of Essential Ingredients” and “Joy for Beginners.”
She lives in Seattle with her family and she will visit Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery on Friday, May 10, to discuss and read from “The Lost Art of Mixing.”

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 03/02/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our beautiful big white mountain. 

Here we are in the month of rainbows and leprechauns peeking out from rain drenched ferns. The early appearing butterflies such as the west coast lady may be seen flittering on the breeze. Like the monarch, the west coast lady is orange and black but a bit paler without the polka dot spots tracing the outline of the wings. The monarch is only a summer resident and you won’t see them in early spring. 

Somewhere on top of a fence post or on the branch of a tree, a plain grey bird that resembles a mocking bird may be seen and heard. Its voice attracts attention as it is a loud sharp “chirp” often followed by a beautiful song. These are the townsend’s solitaire. They are distinguished by the buffy wing stripe and white eye ring. These birds migrate to the eastern side of the Cascades to nest and feast on the juniper berries during the summer months. If you happen to venture to the juniper forests near Madras or Prineville, you can hear these birds in full song from May through early fall. 

With spring definitely on its way, we can look forward to some blooming shrubs that add color and delight to the landscape. The “Dawn” viburnum is a must for every yard that has some sun. They actually bloom from late winter through early spring with bright pink flowers and a heavenly sweet scent. They make nice little bouquets in the house during the months when other flowers are not available.  It is a favorite among Northwest gardeners.

As spring comes into full swing, garden centers will be offering many different varieties of herbs, many of which are worth considering. Starting this month and each month thereafter, we will be giving a bit of information about some of the more interesting medicinal herbs. For instance, there’s the comfrey plant. This plant can be invasive, yet it is an important addition to your food source for chickens, ducks, geese and even cows. The Native Americans found this plant valuable for helping to heal fractures, sprains, bruises and broken bones when its leaves are used as poultice. It has also been found to be useful in helping to heal ulcers, burns, wounds, gangrene and even painful varicose veins. The word comfrey comes from Latin meaning “to boil, grow together, heal.” It is native to Europe and Asia where it has been naturalized and used as a main herb for healing for centuries. 

Until next time, have a very wonderful early spring and since Easter lands on the very end of this month, may you find peace and happiness in simply gardening.
Don't Panic! It's Just Your Toilet Paper Getting Smaller by Ned Hickson on 03/02/2013
I have a friend in Atlanta who I consider an astute observer. The kind of person who is aware of even the most subtle changes in routine or appearance. Which is why it came as no surprise when I received the following e-mail from him:

I think they shrunk my toilet paper.

According to “Derf” (Note: Out of respect for his privacy I have created a fictitious name that should not be held up to a mirror), his recent purchase of Scott toilet paper seemed “more narrow than normal.”
Because many of you are probably reading this over breakfast, I will not explain how he reached this conclusion, nor will I ever be caught without two-ply toilet paper should he come to visit.

What I will tell you is that, after reading about his deductive process, I felt a need to go clean my hands, which I did, by dipping them in kerosene and lighting them on fire.

However, once the flames were out, my newspaper instincts took over and began pursuing the truth, in the tradition of other great investigative journalists (from the Weekly World News), by rolling up my sleeves and doggedly typing the words smaller toilet paper on Google.

Before I get to the results of my exhaustive investigation, I just have to say I am continually amazed by the Internet, and how a search for even the most obscure subject — like, say... flaming grapefruit jugglers — will somehow yield hundreds of results, most of which are inappropriate.

As I expected, “Derf” was right. According to a recent public announcement from Scott, the company has narrowed its sheets by nearly an inch. In my opinion, this decision seems to fly in the face of our nation’s widening bottoms.

(If that last sentence makes it in, you’ll know my editor was asleep.)

Scott says the reason it can make its sheets smaller is because its new version has a “longer-lasting, softer and more absorbent texture” that was “extensively tested by consumers before being introduced to the market.”

OK, first things first. I think we can all agree on one thing:

Ewwwwwwwwww.

Secondly, I admit I have no experience in the area of product testing, except for trying to avoid those freakishly enthusiastic people handing out free samples at Costco, some of whom — and I’m not proud of this — I’ve gotten past by performing a ninja roll.

Following that train of thought, I have to wonder what qualifies as “extensively tested” when it comes to toilet paper, and whether there’s a connection between the free food samples I’m constantly being offered while shopping, and the questionnaire I found hanging in the bathroom stall during my last visit.

I suppose I should be thankful there wasn’t someone in THERE handing out free samples.
Because, to be quite honest, performing a ninja roll at that particular time would’ve been out of the question.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself: What point is he trying to make?
I know I am.

Just kidding! Hahahahaha!

Of course I have a point! I’m a journalist! It’s my job to have a point; something thought provoking and informative that ties everything together with clarity and insight.

In this case, however, I think it might just be too much to absorb.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews. com, or visit his blog at www. nedhickson.wordpress.com)
Will Winter Hang on to March by Herb Miller on 03/02/2013
Precipitation during the last five days of January exceeded what fell previously during the entire month – and nearly erased the deficit.

Brightwood’s total of 10 inches was 92 percent of average, and Government Camp received 81 percent of average, including an impressive snowfall total of 46 inches during that period.

Following a pattern somewhat similar to a month ago, February got off to a drier than average start, but now shows promise of making up for lost time during the last five days of the month (just prior to press deadline). Government Camp recently received abundant snowfall which is not reported in the statistical data (top right column), and an update for the month-end figures will be given in next month’s column.

Spring appears to be on the way, but judging from our weather of the past decade, March has been reluctant to let go of winter.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have temperatures and precipitation close to long-term averages.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52, an average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 8.13 inches, including 3 inches of snow and nine days where the temperature dips to freezing or lower. Over the last 10 years high temperatures reached into the 70s in three years, into the 60s on five occasions and only two years couldn’t get above the 50s. The record high of 81 occurred March 31, 1987. Lows routinely fall into the 20s with the record of 21 set on March 4, 1989. Greatest snowfall was 18 inches measured last year, and only two of the last 10 years failed to receive measurable snowfall during March. The record precipitation total of 21.59 inches was set in 2003.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41, an average low of 27, and a precipitation average of 9.70 inches, including 47 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, one year made it into the 70s, which is the record of 71 set March 20, 2009. Five of the other years had highs in the 60s, two in the 50s, and the other two couldn’t get above the 40s. Over the past 10 years lows are evenly divided with five dropping into the teens and the other five ending in the 20s. The record low of 1 degree was set March 1, 1971. The record 24-hour snowfall of 22 inches was set just last year on March 21, 2012.

Interestingly, from records dating back to 1951, four of the five years with highest snowfall totals in March have occurred since the year 2003.
Love Your Kids? Prove It by Victoria Larson on 02/02/2013
We are over the fiscal cliff and concerned about the cost of everything. Healthcare costs were about 7 percent of our spending in 1960. By 2017 that percentage will jump to 20 percent. Oddly, we spend less on our food budgets now than we did 100 years ago. Let’s show our kids we love them and decrease the healthcare budget at the same time.

 It is time to get real about a lot of things. A mere 2 percent of parents think that their 2-4 year old is overweight. The reality is that 21 percent of that age group actually is. Some children are already obese by preschool age. Advertising since the 1960s convinced us that a plump baby was a healthy baby. I observed billboard advertisng in China in 1996 that depicted plumped up Asian children as desirably healthy.

It’s a worldwide problem.

The worst culprits for undermining our children are cereal, snacks, sodas, and decreased movement.
Starting with the cereal issue, almost 90 percent of parents want their kids to eat breakfast...but only 40 percent of children actually do. For the record, cold cereal is about as nutritious as the box it comes in, what with its synthetic vitamins, colorings and preservatives. It’s more of a junkfood than a decent breakfast. Look for as few ingredients as possible, and no colorings or preservatives.

As a parent, be a role model.

If you are not eating breakfast, it’s a sure bet your kids won’t. If you’re eating a junky cereal all the time, so will your kids. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and eat, a decent breakfast.

Compensate for the time involved by sporting a simpler hairdo or finding a job with less of a commute. Turn off the news. Get your priorities in order. Prove to your kids that they matter.

Snack foods now account for 500-600 calories a day, whereas in 1977 that calorie count was more like 300-400. In the 1970s kids were eating one snack a day, usually upon arriving home from school. Now kids eat snacks three times a day. Often before breakfast, instead of breakfast, and at bedtime. And usually the snack choices are worse than they were in years before. Maybe that cold cereal isn’t offering enough nutrition after all. Do you believe everything the ads say?

A study from the University of North Carolina found that chips, cookies, and crackers account for 28 percent of the snack calories in the 2-6 year old range and 35 percent in the 7-12 year old age group. In the 1970s kids snacked on apples, popcorn, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. A big difference in calorie source as well as a big change in fiber content.

If sodas are your downfall, don’t let them become your kids downfall too. Adults drinking more than four sodas a week (especially so-called diet sodas) have an 87 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In the 1970s sodas still came in glass bottles (no BPA present) and ran about 4-6 ounces. Now they are more than twice that size and come in plastic bottles. Supersizing hasn’t done us any good. Some parents allow kids to have one soda per day which is more than any living human should have. The soda category also includes juice boxes (which tend to have more sugar than juice) and energy drinks (which are just beginning to come under fire).

Electronic time has replaced exercise time and it’s taking its toll on all of us. In the 1970s kids TV programmming accounted for more than 700 hours of what was offered. We now have nearly 40,000 hours of TV programming devoted to children. Kids were exposed to 20,000  commercials (mostly for sugared cereals) and that number has now doubled. The average child now spends seven and a half hours in front of screens, including computers, “i” devices, TV, and video games.

Exercize is hard to get around to. Ask me. Ask you. But exercise we must, in order to decrease our risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Before 1970 almost half of all children walked or biked to school (48 percent). Now only 13 percent do. Outdoor activities accounted for almost six hours a week as recently as 1981 but now that weekly average is about three hours. Is it any wonder that the number of kids who were obese in the 1970s was about 6 percent. Currently we are approaching 20 percent obesity in our child population.

Prove to your kids that you love them. Set good examples for them. Sit down together for as many meals as you can, with no screen time during meals. And absolutely no TV for kids under 2 years old. Limit screen for older kids as well. Two hours quickly becomes four if not monitored. Build self esteem. Give kids chores. Kids on my farm beg to rake hay. The 4 year old is very proud of his gardening skills.

Make outdoor toys more accessible and junk food less so. Do yoga with the kids (it’s good for all of us). Teach kids to cook so they are more inclined to eat better. Make sure the fruit bowl always has something to offer and put junk food out of reach so they at least have to ask for it and you can better monitor intake. This may be of benefit to you as well.

 Morning and after school snacks need to have high nutritive value. Berries, nut butters, soups, and yogurts are all pretty quick snacks. Yogurt or dairy at bedtime helps kids fall alseep easier and keeps them from wanting to snack as soon as they get up. Apples, eggs, milk, and oatmeal cost about seventy-five cents a day. Cheaper than any junkfood, and much, much cheaper than our skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Show you kids you love them. Prove it to them. One day they will thank you.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)


'Pemberley' Follows in the Steps of 'Prejudice' by Sandra Palmer on 02/02/2013
If you love Jane Austen, it’s hard not to love “Death Comes to Pemberley” by famous mystery author, P.D. James.

The acclaimed Ms. James has taken on a sequel to Austen’s famous and much-loved novel “Pride and Prejudice” by imagining the lives of the characters six years later and intertwining a meticulously plotted murder mystery.

Jane Austen plus a P.D. James devised mystery? It’s hard to resist!

And it’s especially lovely to get updates on the colorful cast of characters who populated Austen’s classic tale who have moved on in life, most in fairly predictable ways.

Darcy and Elizabeth are happily installed in the lavish and extensive Pemberley estate and have settled into a very comfortable marriage with several male heirs already in the nursery. Elizabeth is surprisingly happy with her official and unofficial duties in overseeing the extensive household staff and their many expected social and charitable obligations. Darcy is a prominent local official as well as a major landholder and he remains happy that he defied convention in his marriage to Elizabeth.
 
At the same time, however, Darcy still prohibits his old nemesis Wickham from setting foot at Pemberley after causing scandal through the circumstances of his relationship with and subsequent marriage to Elizabeth’s younger sister, Lydia.

All of this domestic tranquility is abruptly ended on the eve of the annual ball when an unexpected carriage arrives late at night carrying a hysterical Lydia claiming that her husband may have been murdered in the Pemberley woodlands. Evidently Wickham followed a companion into the wilderness following an argument in their coach, shots were heard and Lydia now fears the worst. Soon all plans are turned upside down while a search for the missing men is conducted, sadly finding Wickham’s companion Colonel Denny dead with Wickham covered in blood and blaming himself for the death.
Did Wickham (well known for his womanizing and irresponsible ways) resort to murder of his only remaining friend? Even Darcy and Elizabeth find it hard to believe but soon they and the local authorities are involved in an upcoming trial and attempts to solve the mystery.

I found the book to be a true delight, primarily for Ms. James wonderful imitation of Austen’s keen social observations and witty remarks – whether spoken or unspoken. As the murder mystery becomes more of the focus toward the end of the book, the story was a bit less enjoyable for me as the “who done it” overtakes the social interactions of the characters.

But it’s a typically well-plotted P.D. James mystery, dramatically revealed as we would expect.  
“Death Comes to Pemberley” is a great read that Austen fans will not want to miss. If you haven’t read P.D. James before, this is a great opportunity to get to know one of the most lauded mystery writers of our time.

And if it’s been a while since you read “Pride and Prejudice” or if you have never read Austen’s classic tale, it’s not necessary to read or re-read it first as the author does a fine job of covering the background story for the reader.

Since P.D. James (now in her nineties) is still well and writing, I hope that we may be treated to more.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 02/02/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our towering white mountain. 

Snow and ice continue to prevail in some areas, especially where the sun’s rays can’t reach.  Soon the warming sun will melt the ice sheets and tiny plants will begin to emerge and grow.

February seems like a bridge that crosses over from winter into early spring.

On one side of the bridge, twigs and branches are etched with frosty lace and the sky is laden with clouds of wet snow. The breath of the northeastern wind is brisk and cold.

On the other side of the bridge soft pussy willows emerge and the sky is etched with a pretty turquoise hue.  Snowdrops and crocus’ awaken and a balmy breeze begins to erase the harshness of winter. 

Gardening and the promise of sunshine just go hand-in-hand.

Hospitals are discovering how powerful garden therapy can be in helping with the healing process. Even just a few minutes a day out in the garden helps lift the spirits and just 15 minutes of sunshine a day can help prevent hip fractures in the elderly more than 80 percent.

An interesting shrub we can see blooming very early in the year is the witch hazel. Its yellow flowers resemble mops of witch’s hair along the stems.  The plants themselves have an astringent produced from the leaves and the bark. The American Indians produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems to produce a decoction used to treat swelling and tumors. These shrubs are a nice addition to your landscape and provide some beautiful fall color as well.

Our feathered friends are beginning to stir now and warm up their voices. Listen now for the long rolling series of trills and twitters of the ruby crowned kinglet. These tiny little birds are plump with a short tail and nervous wing-flicking. Look for the prominent white eye ring. The male will display his red crown when he is agitated. These little darlings don’t nest in our region but usually head north to Alaska or British Columbia to breed.

Until next time, may you have peace and joy in simply gardening.
There's Nothing Funny About Being a Firefighter ... Well, Mostly by Ned Hickson on 02/02/2013
As some of you may know, in addition to writing a humor column, I’m also a volunteer firefighter — a subject I have purposely avoided in my columns because, let’s face it:

Entering a burning structure with someone who writes about glow-in-the-dark mice isn’t exactly reassuring.

For this reason, I have tried hard to separate my two pursuits. As I’ve discovered, this is a little like trying to separate marshmallows using a blow torch; the longer you keep at it, the more they blend together. The truth is, once the emergency is over, firefighters are funny — which is why, after three years, many are still asking, “Why haven’t you written about being a firefighter yet?”

So to all of you, I say:

You asked for it.

Before we get started, let me clarify that I set some ground rules for myself. For example, in order to preserve anonymity, I will not use names like Sean Connor, Boa Warren, Adam Borg, Tim Snapp or Bill “Single-Lay” Schelpendorf.

And just to clarify, a “single lay” is when a water supply line is hooked to a hydrant from an engine.
For any of you who thought otherwise, while disappointed, I think it illustrates why I should cover some basic firefighter terms before we continue — and why I might need to seek a higher class of readership.

Here are some actual terms we use, in spite of how they sound, that have nothing to do with Internet searches:

Reverse lay, cross lay, double female, minute man, hard suction, straight stream and flashover lap dance.

Ok, I made that last one up just to see who was paying attention.

Apparently, everyone was.

Now that we’ve established some basic terminology, and potential grounds for my termination, we will quickly move on to the next subject.

In fact, the quicker the better.

A lot of people have asked me why anyone would want to run into a burning building?

The simple answer is that firefighters are just like anyone else: Unless we are trying to avoid going to a “Twilight” movie marathon, we don’t want to run into a burning structure either.

However, there is also a deeper and more complicated answer, which involves a trait all firefighters have in common:

Really cold hands and feet.

I should probably mention they also share an inherent need to respond to a crisis and help people, even if it means putting themselves at risk for the protection of others.

But mostly, we’re just trying to get our hands and feet warm.

Which isn’t to say the only time the engines roll is when something is on fire.

Particularly for firefighters here on the Oregon coast, search and rescue emergencies such as car accidents, ATV injuries, boating accidents, lost hikers and mushroom pickers, and Bigfoot sightings by “other kinds” of mushroom pickers, account for more than half the calls we respond to.

To ensure we are trained and physically capable of handling any type of emergency, such as an ATV accident involving a mushroom picker and Bigfoot, firefighters must complete a special academy designed to teach the skills they need, as well as test their physical agility and endurance.

This is accomplished through nine days of intensive hands-on training, live drills and nearly 100 hours of class time studying all seven seasons of “Rescue Me.”

Ha Ha Ha! Just kidding, chief!

(On a completely unrelated note, if anyone at the station finds season five in the training room, it’s mine.)

So far, we’ve covered basic terminology and training, which brings me to another question people often ask:

What’s it like being IN a fire?

Well, it’s sort of like if you grabbed all the dried out Christmas trees within a two-block radius, lit them on fire, then jumped in the middle wearing pot holder underwear.

(Official disclaimer: Do not do this.)

While the protective clothing we wear, called “turnouts,” certainly helps, it’s still fire we’re talking about, which means you still feel like a Ball Park Frank. To complete the experience, crawl around on your hands and knees wearing a blindfold (since it will be too smoky to see) while carrying a 30-pound bag of dog food on your back to simulate the weight of your air pack.

To re-cap: If feeling like a blind, backpacking Ball Park Frank sounds good to you, then firefighting might be the right fit.

All kidding aside, as I mentioned earlier, I have avoided writing about being a firefighter because it’s something I take seriously.

However, as I’ve learned, sometimes it’s the humor that gets you through the bad stuff. When our pagers go off in the middle of the night, and we are buckled up heading to a scene with lights flashing and sirens screaming, you’re never sure of what you’re going to find — which is part of why we do it.
The other part is knowing, every time we buckle up, we’ll find people next to us in the engine who are there for the same reasons, and willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help others.

The only exception to this, of course, would be if there’s a glow-in-the-dark mouse involved.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews. com, or visit his blog at www.nedhickson.wordpress.com)
February: Short and About Average by Herb Miller on 02/02/2013
After the first 11 days of January entered a 12-day period of mostly clear, dry, cool weather that resulted in temperatures averaging about 4 degrees below normal and precipitation far less than average.

Some may wonder if a record was set, but it wasn’t even close. Over the last 35 years, Brightwood has had three years with less precipitation than this year – the record occurring in 1985 when only .39 inches was measured. Snowfall at Government Camp returned during the last days of the month, a welcome event to many.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have temperatures and precipitation close to the long-term averages.

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34, and a precipitation of 8.51 inches, including 6 inches of snow and 14 days when the temperature dips to freezing or lower. Over the last 10 years, high temperatures reaches into the 50s during seven years, and into the 60s the other three years. The record high of 66 occurred Feb. 13, 1996. Lows have fallen into the 20s seven times and into the teens twice as well as into the 30s once. The record low of 2 degrees was set Feb. 3, 1989, which ties the all-time record for Brightwood during the past 35 years. Greatest snowfall for February was 32 inches measured in 1986. As year 2012 ended, Brightwood recorded a precipitation total of 117.68 inches which is 148 percent of the average 79.51 inches.

During February, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 38 degrees, an average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 9.70 inches, including 42 inches of snow. During the last 10 years, three made it into the 60s, two into the 50s, the remaining five settled for the 40s. The record high of 69 was set in 1962, although more recently a high of 67 occurred in 2005. Over the past 10 years, lows have fallen into the single digits twice, the teens five times, and into the 20s three years. The record low for February of minus-13 was set Feb. 4, 1989, threatening the all-time record of minus-14 recorded Dec. 17, 1964. The record 24-hour snowfall of 25 inches was measured in 1994, compared to the 16-inch total recorded just last year on Feb. 26.
The World Did Not End -- Now, on a Positive Note by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2013
As I wrtie this column in 2012, the world has not come to an end.

Yes, many indigenous peoples of the earth and some religious leaders predicted an end, but how could they know given the information we have.

It was several thousand years ago that the Mayan people predicted astrological events in the sky. The Inca people as well.

I wish our weather people could predict tomorrow.

Alas, it is more difficult than we think.

However, “the end of the world” may mean “the end of the world as we know it,” In other words, a cataclysmic change in consciousness, not death and destruction.

We’ve had enough of that.

A shift in global attitudes is in order. Toward a softer, kinder, more generous and caring world. Where we know our neighbors and help them. Where there’s no bullying and rudeness. When we actually realize that our ecology may be even more important than our economy.

Simple numbers reflect coming changes. Women comprise 53 percent of the population. Generally speaking, women do not carry as many guns nor beat up as many people nor fill as many jail cells.
Perhaps this gender will gain more control over global deciscions, earn a fair living, provide good care for those in need, just by their sheer numbers.

Where do we start, all of us, male and female alike?

We ask for help in changing the things we can change.We let go of the things we cannot change. And we pray that we might be wise enough to know the difference between the two!

The place to start is with ourselves.

Let’s make 2013 the year to gain some control over ourselves. We are in control of our choices. We are not in control of the weather.

I am taking the liberty of using the Dr. Oz “Vice-O-Meter” to begin our perspective on making changes in ourselves.

First we will look at some unhealthy behaviors. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst, nail biting is a health issue, but it is fairly innocuous and probably won’t kill you. Though it could if you get blood poisoning.

Other destructive habits you have control over may surprise you with where they fall on the scale.
For instance, wearing high heels daily is a level 5 risk. More than one alcoholic drink a day is level 6. And eating too fast is worse, coming in at a level 7.

May be time to decrease the fast food. Drinking diet soda daily is at a level 8, though I dare to say it might come in higher with new research that is just emerging. As it is, daily drinking of diet soda may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer by 87 percent. Remember, that is a change that you have control of. We want to start with ourselves.

By now you must know that not getting enough sleep leads to stress in yourself and your family, weight gain, and an increased risk of Type II diabetes.

Your stress hormones need sleep in order to recuperate. Your body only heals itself while you sleep. When you are awake there are too many other metabolic processes going on to devote to repair.
Can you guess what’s at 10 on the Vice-O-Meter?

Smoking is so obvious that it is hardly worth mentioning again. But I know those of you who smoke will continue to work on that.

No, surprisingly, what’s at number 10 as the most risky health habit is sitting! Yes, just sitting. Sitting through most of your day, whether at a computer or in front of a TV, sitting is so self-destructive that it’s right up there with cigarette smoking.

Get up and do something every hour. Walk around the office, look out a window, pet the cat. Anything to get your circulation moving a bit.

Start eating a little better and over time it will become natural to do so.

Yogurt helps better long-term memory. Sunflower seeds and almond butter make you 25 percent less likely to suffer dementia. Salmon and walnuts add years to your brain’s function.

Get outside for ten to fifteen minutes a day. Low levels of vitamin D leave you 60 percent more likely to experience cognitive decline.

We will be needing our wisdom.

You are in charge of you and no one else. One foot in front of the other will get you to a better place. Forget the New Years’ resolutions and the big, hard to maintain diets.

Just start. Today. Right now. We can make ourselves and our world better. It’s in your hands to do so.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

Henry VIII, Cromwell, Boleyn: 'Sweeping' by Sandra Palmer on 01/01/2013
Hilary Mantel is the first British novelist to receive the honor of winning the Man Booker Prize twice. Her novel “Wolf Hall,” a sweeping and complex novel about Henry VIII’s powerful minister Thomas Cromwell, won the honor in 2009. And in 2012, Ms. Mantel was recognized with the prestigious award once more for its sequel “Bring Up the Bodies.”

Both novels tell the dramatic tale of Henry the Eighth and the era of Anne Boleyn – a tale often told but now shared with great historical detail and nuance by Ms. Mantel from the unique and all-seeing perspective of Henry’s powerful minister Thomas Cromwell.

These novels – while beautifully written and lushly researched – are, however, not a casual read but require a serious investment of time and interest.

I truly enjoyed both but I was helped along by familiarity with the intricacies of the plot after reading a number of less literary accounts of this fascinating period over the years.

Some of the language is a bit arcane and the many characters are a bit challenging to remember but Ms. Mantel’s amazing insights into the historic personalities and politics of the time are truly amazing.
And Thomas Cromwell is portrayed in a manner that overcomes simplistic stereotypes, revealing the complex man that he was.

“Bring up the Bodies” begins where “Wolf Hall” concluded. Henry and Master Secretary Cromwell are guests of the Seymour family at Wolf Hall. This begins the King’s fascination and pursuit of Jane Seymour who will eventually become his next queen.

Anne Boleyn has failed to provide the hoped-for male heir and, while the palace swirls with rumors of her possible infidelity, Henry soon seeks a way to be rid of her so that he can marry Jane.

In a curious way, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell are bound together as Cromwell was instrumental in assisting his king to be positioned to marry her, putting aside Queen Catherine years before and shocking society while dividing the Christian world over this move.

Now we see these two larger-than-life historical figures pitted against one another as Cromwell, ever the master politician, seeks to find a legitimate means to expel Anne from the court and uses the circumstances as an opportunity to settle scores with political opponents.

The book ends with Anne’s beheading.

For true history buffs and those fascinated with this pivotal period of British history, this account is nothing short of delicious!

Hilary Mantel is an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and critic. She is currently at work on the third book of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy to be called “The Mirror and the Light.”

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 01/01/2013
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked in with a blanket of snow.  Here it is a brand New Year already!  This year, as with each New Year, will bring many surprises and adventures, some wonderful and some not so wonderful but remember God is still in control and somehow good things can come out of bad things. 

Our gardens are asleep waiting for the promise of spring.  Winter is a good time to nod by the warm fire, browse our garden catalogs, and make plans for future landscaping.  The ground will be frozen now and hard to dig, so we must dream and wait. 

Remember not to put your cut Christmas tree on the burn pile.  Stand it up somewhere and tie seed treats (suet too) to its branches.  The birds will thank you!  Your little “once upon a time” Christmas tree will be alive with birds in no time. Be sure to scatter feed on the ground, around the base of the tree, to attract ground feeders such as mourning doves and sparrows.

You might occasionally see a hummingbird at this time of year but generally the Anna’s hummer, which winters as far north as Canada, is more frequently seen in the Portland area.  These are tough little guys that feed on insects and winter blooming flowers.  They are really fine on their own.  Imagine, these hummingbirds have a heartbeat of close to 1,000 beats per minute!  The Rufous hummingbird, which we only see in spring and summer, winters in Baja, California.  In the summer these two species of hummingbirds lay only 2 eggs in a very tiny, neat nest.
 
That’s it for birds this month.  Keep your eyes on lookout for those winter blooming flowers such as Hellebores, Heather, Witch Hazel and some of the Viburnums.  They are definitely a welcome sight for this time of year. 

Meanwhile, Happy New Year to all of you faithful readers and may the coming year bring you peace and joy in simply gardening.
Wet January on the Weather Agenda by Herb Miller on 01/01/2013
The month got off to a very wet start but after the first five days the precipitation settled down to levels more typical for this time of year.

By mid-month temperatures lowered enough to allow a steady increase in the snowpack on the mountain, and Brightwood received a 5-inch snowfall on Dec. 18, followed by another 3.5 inches during the next few days. Temperatures ended fairly close to average and precipitation gave way to a much drier period after Christmas.

The National Weather Service expects our area to have temperatures close to average for January, but above precipitation – pretty much what we’ve been experiencing the past few months.

During January, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.84 inches – including 9.4 inches of snow. Over the last 10 years high temperatures reached into the 50s during eight years, with one year making 60, and the other year failing to get above the 40s. The record high of 60 degrees occurred Jan. 4, 2001, and again on Jan. 18 and 19, 2005. Lows have fallen into the 20s six times, and into the teens twice, as well as into the 30s twice. A record low of 9 degrees was set in 1996, but was threatened when 11 degrees was read in 2004. Greatest snowfall was the 47-inch total in 1980, far exceeding the 20.5 inches measured in 2008.

During January, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 24, and a precipitation average of 13.25 inches – including 59 inches of snow. During the last nine years, five made it into the 50s, and the remaining four settled for the 40s. The record high was a balmy 65 set in 1968, but approached recently with a 59-degree reading in 2005. Over the past nine years, lows have fallen into the single digits four times, the teens once, and into the 30s during three years. But in 2004, the mercury fell to minus-2, approaching the record low of minus-8 set back in 1963. The record snowfall of 35 inches was measured in 1980, compared to the 23-inch total recorded just last year on Jan. 18. The record snowdepth for January of 138 inches was measured in 2002.
Holidays Are A Chance To Examine Traditional Medicine by Victoria Larson on 12/02/2012
Holidays get us to thinking about traditions. Some stay, some go by the wayside, but have you thought about traditional medicine?

Most of the world still uses traditional medicine. though we north Americans seem to have pushed traditional healing aside in favor of modern science. For thousands of years the earth’s people have relied on traditional medicine. American Indian medicine, Chinese medicine, indigenous people throughout the world have used, and continue to use traditional healing methods despite the strides made by modern medicine. Modern medicine is only about 100 years old.

Indigenous people relied on plants and the spirit of plants, as well as the earth and fire and water for that was what was available. But have we lost something in our hundred years of exuberance to embrace science and reject traditional methods of healing? Generally speaking, traditional medicine is gentler, more spiritual than our “wars” on disease. I have some patients who are afraid to try homeopathy, yet willingly take modern prescriptions which invariably come with long pages of cautions and side effects. Homeopathy has no side effects. But even homeopathy is fairly “new” at a little more than 200 years in use world wide.

Quantum physicists are constantly trying to unravel the meaning of our world. These far reaching scientists actuallly lead us back to traditional thinking. They tell us that the world is really just energy. The vibrational movement of all atoms, electrons means that there is no physical reality. All is energy. The table is not solid but a buzzing mass of constant motion invisible to the naked eye.

That vibrational phenomenom was and is a big part of the traditional medicine still in use in so many places on earth. Could we “see” energy if we slowed down and focused? Other cultures still do. In the United states of Affluenza we have a huge attachment to “schedule” while indigenous cultures “go with the flow”. They can see what we might miss. Third world countries are considered under-developed while first world countries may be over developed. Peru is the most sought after spiritual destination. The United States for its affluence.

Traditional medicine relies on connections while we are separated from everything. We don’t know our neighbors, we play games instead of talking to each other. Our myriad of “connection” devices teach us to seek instant gratification, but we are never gratified. We always want more. Never just being satisfied with the air, water, shelter, and food that most of you reading this paper have (read November column). What is missing is connection.

Connection to the plant spirit world is paramount to most of the people of the earth. We work our butts off and don’t take time off. Then we need a gym membership to really work our butts off because our work involves sitting all day and we are becoming more and more obese. Third world people are happy with their work, most of it physical in working the land for food, as well as family and their community. They know they could “have more” but then they would have to spend time away from that home, family, land that feeds them. Who really wants to be away from crops, the baby in exchange for the hustle-bustle of “affluenza.”

Traditional medicine was not discovered by trial and error, though that may have contributed information. Thousands of years ago people did not just sit around tasting plants until someone died of a poisonous ingestion. Instead their calm spirit taught them to sit with the plants and feel the moods, the spirit of those plants. Do you think the baby or your kids or your dog for that matter can sense your moods, thoughts? So can plants. Studies have shown that plants like classical music and thrive but die if yelled at. We are all vibrational beings remember?

We are vibrational beings who have strayed from tuning into those vibrations. The price of affluenza is slavery to machines, to time, to money. We are slaves to our comfort level but in finding comfort we may have lost connection. Do you know what grows in your backyard? Could you find food if the stores had no stock? Do you know your neighbors? Do you participate in community events so you meet them? Shopping on line may be considered “saving” but is there value in meeting and greeting your neighbors on the street, in the stores?

Do keep traditions if that’s appropriate for your family. Don’t be a slave to traditions that may have lost their meaning. But by all means show humanity toward others. More kindness and less speed. Peace on earth instead of battles starts at home. My hope is that you all find peace and love this holiday season. God Bless.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)

The Snow Child by Sandra Palmer on 12/02/2012
A traditional Russian fairy tale provides the basis for this captivating novel of love and loss set in the snowy wilderness of Alaska.

It is 1920 and a childless couple, Jack and Mabel, set off for Alaska to homestead as a fresh start without fully understanding the risk and hardships that Alaska winters in the wilderness will bring. The short days, constant cold and isolation prompt depression and despair but during a beautiful snowfall they playfully rejoice in the sparkling new snow and together construct a snowman. Feeling inspired, the couple carves the face of a beautiful young girl in the snow figure, dressing her in a scarf and mittens. When their snow child has disappeared the next day they are puzzled but when they observe a young blonde-haired girl dancing through the snowy trees on their property dressed in the same scarf and mittens they wonder if she is real or a magical sprite.

Soon Jack and Mabel develop intense feelings of attachment for Faina, the mysterious and free-spirited young girl who arrives to visit with them each winter and who seems so mysteriously at home in the snowy cold.

During the short Alaska summers Mabel lovingly sews new winter clothing for the girl while she joyfully awaits her return with the snow and cold to come.

Over time a bit more of the snow child’s identity is revealed and she becomes  more and more a daughter to the couple, still unsure of whether they can believe that she is fully real or a magical spell that has taken form to express their deepest hopes and desires.

How can it be that this beautifully delicate child knows better than they how to survive in the unforgiving winter landscape?

Difficulties posed by weather and hardship soon lessen Mabel and Jack’s isolation by necessity and illustrate the importance of community and friendship for survival.

However, the Russian fairy tale Mable uncovers which so closely parallels their experience with Faina has several tragically sad potential endings. She and Jack hope against hope that their love for Faina will have a happier resolution as they faithfully anticipate her return to their homestead each year when winter arrives.

“The Snow Child” is Eowyn Ivey’s first novel and it is beautifully written with spare, lyrical prose that never over-states. The tale magically conveys beauty of place and intensity of feeling while leaving plenty of room for the reader’s emotional involvement and wonder at the tale’s starkly beautiful story.
It’s the most wonderful and unusual book I’ve read for a while. I highly recommend it!

Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper.

This is her first novel.

(Sandra Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 12/02/2012
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath our big snowy Mount Hood and the snow laden trees of the surrounding forest. 

It’s Christmas time and instead of gardening we are decorating with boughs of holly and evergreen. Soon the Christmas tree will be brought in to be trimmed with precious ornaments, tinsel and lights.

Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the season, after the tree has been standing up in our homes for a while we forget the welfare of the poor thing.  It’s important to always keep water in the tree’s stand and to keep any heat source from blowing on the tree. In other words, try to stand the tree in the coolest room in the house.  It’s even wise to put a fresh cut on the tree before bringing it in and placing it in the stand.  This will slice away the seal the tree has made to heal its wound from the first cut, so it can more easily drink in the fresh water provided. 

Often a seasonal flowering plant is brought into the house for color and cheer, such as the poinsettia. Remember poinsettias are tropical plants and require much care to keep them through the holiday season.  They do not tolerate drafty rooms and too much water is a sure killer. Another suggestion for a decorative plant is the hellebores, especially a variety that will be blooming at this time. White Jacob is one such plant. It certainly resembles a Christmas rose in all of its purity. These plants can be indoors for about two weeks before returning outside.  They grow well in our shady moist conditions, they are evergreen and the deer don’t seem to like them. Just be sure that if you purchase one for your holiday table you keep it watered and slowly adjust it to its outdoor home when you get ready to move it back outside, so you don’t shock the poor thing. 

Now is the time to keep an eye on our bird feeders and keep them filled with fresh seed for our feathered friends.  Keeping a suet feeder filled with suet is a good idea too. A bag of bird seed and a cute feeder or a couple of blocks of suet and a suet feeder make nice gifts for bird lovers too and will bring hours of enjoyment watching the birds feast at the table you have set before them.  For all of you with indoor cats, the feeders also make a nice “kitty theater” to keep the cats entertained throughout the day.

Please do not do this if you have outdoor cats! 

One of the birds you might see at the feast is the nuthatch.  They are the small white and bluish-gray birds that go head first down the trunks or hang from the undersides of limbs.  The red-breasted nuthatch

with a white line over its eye is the most common in our conifers. These little birds give out a nasal “yank-yank-yank” call. 

Another bird that has been seen recently at feeders is the evening grosbeak. They are a bigger, stocky finch with a large pale greenish or yellowish conical beak. Their brown head shades to yellow on the lower back, rump and underparts and they have a bright yellow forehead and eyebrow with bold white wing patches.  They give out a louder, ringing series of short musical whistles. 

Well, here’s wishing all of you wonderful gardening, bird watching people a beautiful, peaceful Christmas season and the joy of our Savior’s birth, in the art of simply gardening (if only in our winter dreams).

A Great Gravy Ambush by Ned Hickson on 12/02/2012
Admittedly, the closest I have been to an actual military “hot zone” was when, on a grey August day in 1977, my Cub Scout troop was deployed to sell candy on the same block as the Girl Scouts. Our prime objective was Hilltop Road, which was a critical strategic vector.

At least in terms of foot traffic.

Because our troop transport had overheated in the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru, the Girl Scouts had already claimed the high ground next to a busy movie theater.

Outnumbered and without tactical advantage, we implemented our most effective defensive strategy, which was to form a tight perimeter directly behind 200-pound Billy Schlependorf.

This  quickly turned to chaos as we were overrun by a swarm of green berets and brown knee-highs, forcing us to retreat in a hail of Thin Mints and stale marshmallows. The last thing I remember was stepping on a well-thrown “ants-on-a-log” that sent me headfirst into a three-foot-tall Darth Vader waiting in line to see Star Wars.

So, because of this common bond of courage under fire, it was no surprise when my friend, who is a firefighter and soldier with two tours in Iraq, confided in me that he had recently been attacked in his own kitchen — by leftover Thanksgiving gravy.

Let me set the scene:

This is SEPTEMBER.
That’s right. According to my friend, who asked not to be named, and who I will respectfully refer to only as “Sean” or “Sgt. Connor” but never as “Sgt. Sean Connor,” the gravy boat in question had been in the back of his refrigerator waiting to ambush him since last November.

This is not uncommon. I actually have a Tupperwear dish with guacamole from  Cinco De Mayo 2001 that became self-aware in 2009, and who I now claim on my tax return as an 11-year-old Mexican exchange student named Guaca Jole Mole.

I have never been attacked by Guaca. But if that ever happens, trust me: He’s out of there.
Anyway, getting back to The Great Gravy Ambush ...

While reaching for what I’m sure was a healthy snack of carrot sticks or high-fiber yogurt, “Sean’s” fingers came into contact with the enemy, in the form of a harmless gravy boat filled with what he called a “dark brown, meteorite-like substance.”

Being a take-charge kind of guy, and due to his reflexive hand-to-hand combat training – and because his wife had asked him to clean out the gravy boat 10 months ago – he instinctively grabbed a butter knife and plunged it into what he described in technical combat terms as a “dried gravy crevasse.”
It was in that moment, while locked in a struggle to dislodge the rock-like gravy, that he cut his finger on the razor-like edge of the crevasse as he forced it down the garbage disposal. Showing no mercy, he started the disposal and immediately came under heavy fire from “gravy shrapnel” flying across the kitchen.

Dropping into a low-crawl, he assessed his “tactical situation,” and concluded that if the new kitchen cabinets got scratched by flying gravy debris, he should probably just keep crawling onto a busy highway.

But this is a man who has led other men into battle!

(begin exciting slow-motion action sequence):

Crouched on the floor, he took a deep breath and dove toward the countertop, gravy shrapnel whizzing past him as he simultaneously – and in mid air  – scanned the row of switches, finding the disposal and slamming his injured finger down on it, effectively taking out the enemy.

Ok, so the first switch was actually the kitchen fan.
... Then the sink light.

... Then the pantry light.
The point is, it doesn’t matter how many switches it took; all that matters is that the disposal switch is now painted RED.

This Thanksgiving “Sean’s” story will not help prevent others from falling victim to a similar type of gravy ambush – as I haven’t heard from him.

And hey – Don’t even get me started on Girl Scout cookies.
 
(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews. com, or visit his blog at www. nedhickson.wordpress.com)
Remember Normal? It's on the Way by Herb Miller on 12/02/2012
After a balmy start during the first week, temperatures lowered to a more seasonal level, but the big event of November was the pineapple express that soaked Brightwood with a 3-day total rainfall of 5.54 inches – ending the day before Thanksgiving.

Some of the snow that fell on the Mountain melted, but a measurement of 45 inches at Timberline and 8 inches on the upper lift at Skibowl remained on Sunday after Thanksgiving. Thankfully we were spared the devastating winds and flooding that occurred over much of the area along the I-5 corridor and west to the coast during the stormy period.

The National Weather Service reports the El Nino pattern that earlier showed signs of becoming established has relaxed and conditions are considered neutral. Their forecast for our area during December is to expect near average temperatures and precipitation.

During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.95 inches – including 6 inches of snow. Over the last 10 years, high temperatures reached into the 50s without exception, with the record high of 56 read on Dec. 18, 2004. Lows have fallen into the 20s on seven occasions, and once each into the 30s, teens, and single digits, the record being 2 degrees Dec. 21, 1990. An average of 12 days have lows drop to freezing. Record rainfall was the historic 1964 event when 28.09 inches was measured, including the record 24-hour total of 5.68 inches. By comparison, the flooding in 1996 resulted from a total of 22 inches. Greatest snowfall total was 48.8 inches in 1968, closely followed by 43.75 inches measured in 2008.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36, an average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 13.92 inches – including 52 inches of snow. During the last nine years, two made it into the 50s, all the others settled for the 40s. The record high was an unbelievable 73 set on Dec. 22, 1963. Lows have fallen into the single digits four times, into the teens four times, and only once into the 20s during the last nine years. The record of 14-below-zero was set Dec. 17, 1964. Record 24-hour snowfall was 26 inches set recently on Dec. 18, 2008, and the greatest snow depth measured in December was 114 inches on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 1984.
Fruit Stand Open For Winter Run by Geoff Berteau on 12/02/2012
(During Geoff Berteau's travels in Thailand, Frances Berteau steps up to the plate and pinch hits.)

Scott Davis and Tallis, his canine traveling buddy, are now back manning the Hoodland Fruit Stand on Highway 26 in Welches after a brief closure and a whirlwind trip to Texas and back.

Open again on an ongoing basis, the Hoodland Fruit Stand is fully stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables and is also selling Christmas trees throughout December.

“We have lots of greens from Oregon too,” Davis said.

The fruit stand was open during the summer months but closed at the end of September when Davis and Tallis hit the road. After leaving Welches , the duo blazed a trail through southeastern Oregon, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico and to Bryan, Texas where Davis owns a home.

“I was there for about two and a half weeks, enough time to cut the grass. My son Toney is just back from Afghanistan after a 4-year tour in the Navy, and he is living there now. I’d like to thank him for his service to our country,” Davis said.

On the road, Tallis travels in style riding snugly on the backseat of Davis’ motorcycle. The longest trip they have taken is from central Texas to Port Angeles, Wash. The traveling pair has clocked more than 45,000 miles together.

It may appear a peculiar way for a dog to travel, but Davis explained how Tallis first got started on his road trips.

“As a puppy while I was warming up my Roadking, Tallis crawled up in my lap, so I took him for a ride,” he said. “I made up a box for him to ride in behind me which he soon grew out of.  So one day when I was warming up my bike he just jumped onto the back seat. I made a proper backseat for him out of a bed and now he travels with me.”

Davis explained that Welches is his home, and that he grew up around here, just past the golf course. As a kid he got busted for stealing golf balls out of the pond on the course.

“I was scared to death what would happen and the next day returned a bunch of them to the pro shop. But the golf pro was really nice and gave me 10 cents a ball. I didn’t want to tell him I had about 500 of them at home,” Davis said.

The local entrepreneur is excited that apple season is now here.

“I was eager to return and open the fruit stand again because the Mountain needs it, and it’s a great opportunity to chat with others,” he said. “And I never got to do apple season before I left, but it’s here now.”

At the fruit stand, the friendly Tallis lingers in anticipation for a pat on the head from a customer.
  “I always have a coffee pot on,” Davis said.

The Hoodland Fruit Stand is located at The Old Welches Garden Center, on Hwy. 26 across from Clackamas County Bank, and is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m. Scott can be reached at (503) 752-1934 or (503) 929-2751.
In These Difficult Times, Love What You Have by Victoria Larson on 11/03/2012
In this time of economic crisis” and a world seemingly “going to hell in a handbasket” we may forget how lucky we truly are. When we settle down and think about what is actually necessary to sustain life, we tend to be more grateful.
What are the necessities of life then? Air, water, food, shelter, and connection. That’s pretty much it. Not new cars or electronic devices. Not three story houses or new curtains. Not gourmet food or junk foods. Much as you may want those things, they are not necessary for life!

Now air is necessary for life and it is one thing we have the least control over. But let us be grateful that we do not live in China or Japan or Mexico City where oxygen bars are offered because the air quality is actually harmful to health. Sure we have time of fires and air stagnation but it is not constant. Fires are something we can usually avoid starting. Air stagnation should keep us from driving so much. It should.

Water seems abundant in the Northwest. Again, we have little control over how much we receive. In fact, we need to remember that rain is just water, the same thing you shower in most mornings. We are lucky to have enough of it to avoid drought. We can install rain catchment systems to reuse all that free water that comes from the sky. In other parts of the world, water is cause for battle. I may battle my neighbors who water too much or the farmer who waters without having water rights granted.

Food is a requirement for life. Now we begin to have choices. Do you buy from grocery stores where 80-90 percent of the “food” offered is genetically modified? Do you buy from farmers’ markets where 10 percent of the produce offered can be from a non-local source? Do you buy from your neighbors where you can monitor their treatment of soil, use of water, and soil supplementation? You are making the choice in this area and your choices make a profound impact.

By rushing through life (faster checkout lines, no time to shop carefully) you may be making poor food choices. Fast food drive through is not “cheap” if it is harmful to your health. Health care is expensive I know. But so are electronic devices. Which is more important to you? The under 30 age group actually thinks that they cannot survive without the electronic devices. They are not expected to live as long as current older age groups. My relatives lived into their 80s and 90s. Rose Kennedy lived to be 106. But my grandkids are not expected to live that long due to poor health choices. They actually think that smartypants phone is more important than good food.

Shelter, in our climate, is a necessary part of life. The category of shelter includes clothing, but do we really need 100 pairs of shoes or another new handbag? It may be something we desire, but it is not a necessary part of life. Nor are new hubcaps or another tool or yet another trip to Europe (unless of course it is necessary for your job, in which case you should be grateful).

A very important component of a long and healthy life is connection. Actual, real connection with other people. In our electronic, speedy age people are feeling more and more alienated and that is sad. For there may come a time when we need to (ahem) stick together for survival. Try as I might, I admit to being overwhelmed by this fast modern world. Seems none of us have time to return phone calls any more, much less write a letter (gasp!). Communications go unanswered, but anyone can tell you, by looking at their electronic device, what the weather will do in the next 10 minutes (really? it’s Oregon).
November is a time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for. All of us. No matter what income level. In fact, studies show that the happiest income level is about $12,000 per year per person. For the record folks, that’s poverty level. Because most of the people living at that level have air, water, food, shelter, and connection, And if they don’t, let us help them out. For it is together that we will survive.
And so I think of so many things that I am grateful for that cost nothing. Freedom of speech (thank you editors!), the chirping of birds, nature’s painting skills outside my window, green grass, neighbors and friends who help each other, free food along roadside to feed to my donkeys and llama, family events, my “poor woman’s greenhouse” that works so well, space, and stars, and the whole universe! Don’t you have something to be grateful for too? Think about it and send your thanks heavenward for it is gratefulness that will lead to better health and extend your life. Just love what you have and ask nothing more of life than that.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
Sensory Worlds Unfold in a Circus of Dreams by Sandra Palmer on 11/03/2012
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
 
“The Night Circus” is a magical novel that takes place in (and behind the scenes of) a mysterious, wandering circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise.

“The Circque des Rêves (“The Circus of Dreams”) features amazing performers and tents that contain unique, breath-taking experiences that transport the circus visitor into sensory worlds unlike any other they have encountered – an ice garden, a cloud maze, acrobats, living statues, and a talented contortionist.

However, behind the scenes is a darker reality. Two powerful magicians – Prospero the Enchanter and the mysterious Mr. A. H. – have carefully trained their protégés, Celia and Marco, to continue their rivalry using the Night Circus as their forum.

Celia is a talented illusionist and one of the circus’s star performers who also creates many wondrous aspects of the circus from the inside; while Marco works for the circus’s creator and manager, connected to the circus but not a formal part of it while anonymously developing many of its most magical elements.

The talents of both Marco and Celia charm circus visitors while they are both individually aware that their involvement with the circus is a competition of sorts that their teachers have encouraged them to continually build into a more and more elaborate and complex display of their powers.

While knowing that their work in the circus embodies a rivalry, they are both kept unaware of the formal rules and, initially, even from awareness of whom their magical opponent might be. However, once Marco and Celia discover each other and the nature of the game which pits their skills against one another, they complicate the scenario even more by falling hopelessly in love – a deep, magical attraction that causes lights to flicker and the room to grow warmer whenever they touch. 

Not only does this add another layer of complexity for both magicians, it also means that the very fate of the circus and its many performers is intertwined with the outcome of their mysterious duel.

Can the circus survive if either Marco or Celia is no longer a part of this successful, magical confection? And how can the result of the duel be resolved without tragedy if there can only be one victor?
Morgenstern uses rich and imaginative prose to absolutely dazzle our imaginations as she describes the circus and the amazing feats of illusion created by Marco and Celia. The supporting characters caught up in the intrigue are also colorful and well drawn, many serving to illustrate the darker powers at work behind the scenes and the impact of the circus on the public. The book itself is full of imaginary literary treats for the reader.

If you are looking for a unique book that will take you on a wild and magical flight into uncharted territory, this is it!

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and multimedia artist who describes all of her work as being “fairy tales in one way or another.” She lives in Massachusetts. “The Night Circus” is her first novel and a movie is already in the works.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 11/03/2012
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath the shadow of our beautiful Mount Hood, glistening white with a fresh mantle of snow. 

This is the season of thanksgiving and once again we count our many blessings and offer a prayer of thanks to our God for the wonderful place in which we live.

We had a beautiful fall, giving us plenty of time to catch up on many of the chores in our yard and garden. Now is the time to mulch and put the garden to bed.  The best mulch a person can use is from the leaves that have fallen from our maple trees, and it’s free!  It’s nice if you can chop up the leaves with a lawn mower before applying them to your beds, but if you don’t have a mower (as many of us on the Mountain don’t) just spread the leaves loosely over the area you want to cover. The leaves will rot and break up into rich humus. 

If you recall, last month we featured the bufflehead duck as one of the birds you can spot during the winter months. In keeping with the waterfowl family, another feathered friend to keep an eye out for is the great blue heron.  They can be spotted stalking ponds, marshes, rivers and lakes for small aquatic critters. They are a long-legged grayish-blue bird with a white face topped with a black crest. When flushed, they give out a loud croaking sound. When they fly they look huge and are sometimes mistaken for a crane (namely, the sandhill crane), but they don’t even belong to the crane family. In flight, herons pull their necks in and let their long legs trail behind, while the sandhill crane (which is also a native to our region) flies with an outstretched neck. 

An interesting plant to try growing in your winter garden is the edible kale.

This particular plant was one of our featured “plants of the week” in October on our outdoor bulletin board at the store. In case you missed it, we thought we would share a few of its treasures. Many people are crazy for kale. It is a vitamin-packed leafy vegetable that enjoys a starring role in many dishes. It is loaded with antioxidants and many vitamins including A, C, K and B6.

It’s also a good source of fiber, iron, folate and calcium. Kale is self seeding, grows at will and can even be planted indoors in pots. While kale is gaining popularity, many people still don’t know what to do with it. Below is a yummy-sounding recipe to try.  

Savory Kale Scones with Squash and Cheese (8-10 scones)
2 cps kale leaves, loosely packed
2 cps unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbls granulated sugar
1/3 cp cold butter
1 egg
3/4 cp buttermilk
1/2 cp cooked squash or pumpkin, diced very small
3/4 cp shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Set oven rack in the middle.  Steam kale for a minute or two, just to blanch.  Chop kale finely, squeezing out as much liquid as you can.  You should have less then 1 cup chopped kale.  If you have more, save it for soup or eat it (too much will make the scones sticky).  Blend or sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar together.  Cut in the buttermilk with a pastry blender or your fingers (two knives work well too).  In a small bowl, beat the egg then add the buttermilk, continuing to beat until well combined.  Add egg/buttermilk mixture, along with squash, kale and cheese to dry ingredients, mixing with a fork just enough to combine.  Drop by spoonfuls (you can also use a cookie cutter or knife to make triangles or other shapes) onto a parchment-paper-covered baking sheet.  Bake about 20 minutes until lightly browned. 
Per scone: Calories 210, protein 7 grams, total fat 10 grams, saturated fat 6 grams, cholesterol 44 mg, sodium 406 mg, carbohydrate 24 grams, dietary fiber 1 gram.
Once again, may you have peace and joy late this fall in simply gardening.
Chilly, Dry Winter Headed Our Way by Herb Miller on 11/03/2012
The warm, dry start of October ended abruptly on the 11th, after a record-breaking stretch of 100 days reaching back to July 3 when less than a half-inch of rainfall was measured in Brightwood. The return of our rainy period delivered more than the month’s normal average – offsetting the dry start. The precipitation was accompanied by much cooler temperatures, bringing snow to the mountain, where Ski Bowl reached a snow depth of 9 inches, and both Timberline Lodge and the Meadows measured 23 inches before temperatures moderated to more seasonal levels. Despite the dry summer, the rain year ending Sept. 30 brought a precipitation total of 99.08 inches to Brightwood, which is 125 percent of the average 79.51 inches.

For November, the National Weather Service again expects temperatures in our area to be slightly lower than average and precipitation to also be less than average.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48 degrees, an average low of 38, and a precipitation average of 11.73 inches – including 2.6 inches of snow. Six of the last 10 years had highs in the 60s, and the other four had highs in the 50s. The record high of 70 was recorded in both 1980 and 1981. During the last 10 years, five had lows in the 20s, three in the 30s, and the other two had lows in the teens. The record low of 12 degrees was set Nov. 29, 1985, but closely approached only two years ago when a 13 was recorded Nov. 24, 2010. The record precipitation total of 24.94 inches, including 5.22 inches on Nov. 7, was set six years ago during 2006. The record snowfall of 25.5 inches occurred in 1985, and more recently, 8 inches of snow was measured in 2003.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during November is 41 degrees, the average low is 29, with an average precipitation amount of 12.16 inches – including an average 32 inches of snow. High temperatures routinely reach the 50s or low 60s, the record high reaching 70 on Nov. 3, 1981, compared to a reading of 68 on Nov. 15, 1999. Only one year had a low dropping into the single digits during the last nine years, the other eight years are evenly divided between the teens and 20s. The record low of minus 4 was set way back on Nov. 15, 1955, compared to a low of 2 degrees set only two years ago on Nov. 24, 2010. Record snowfall totals of 20 inches were set recently on both Nov. 18, 2010 and Nov. 24, 2006, closely followed by 19 inches measured on Nov. 23, 2010. Greatest snow depth in November was the 70-inch total measured on Nov. 26, 1973, which was approached only two years ago when 61 inches was measured on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, 2010.
A New Business Translation by Geoff Berteau on 11/02/2012
Isaan Business

Stretched out across northeast Thailand and nestled up along the meandering Mekong River, lays a province where rice paddies, rubber tree farms, and ancient mountain temples still paint the countryside. Conical hats and hand-washed clothes, spicy soups and sticky rice – a way of life which never found a good enough reason to change itself like the modern world that surrounds it--this is Isaan.


Home to a handful of smaller towns and a few bigger cities, Isaan is a delicious fusion of culture. Perhaps 70 percent Thai and 30 percent Lao, this is a place that’s altogether unique.


And from this Mountain ex-pat’s perspective, you’ll find the same philosophy wherever you go. It’s really quite simple: "mai bpen rai," which translates to "no problem."


This thoroughly (and sometimes exhaustingly) accompanies everything that is done in Thailand. From the soup shack to the postal service, the schoolhouse to your house, "problems" are things for people who just "aren’t from around here."

And this token phrase is only spoken louder in Isaan.


Slow down, relax, and be happy. It’s amazing what can happen when an entire culture jointly accepts this concept. There is no time like the present, and the present is the best time to have no problems.


Business is affected the same way.


Whether it’s the local mechanic or the motorcycle ice cream vendor, anything goes, and every price is negotiable. A westerner might find it rude to haggle over a bag of rice or a pair of shorts, but really it’s mai bpen rai.


Negotiating prices is understood as a method of finding a price that is suitable for both parties in the sale. It’s always done with a smile, and both people conclude the transaction happier to have what they wanted from it.


This is a far-cry from the standards of the West, but the people of Isaan (and Thailand in general) seem to be very proud of their way of life.


And why shouldn’t they be? Thailand has been coined many times as "the land of smiles."


It’s also worth mentioning that a cup of coffee frequently costs more than a full meal, with a cup of Joe clocking in at around a dollar fifty, and a giant bowl of fabulous Thai food at about a dollar.


People eat well (and often), in Isaan.


And when the people rarely go hungry, the people rarely have any real problems.

Ride a bicycle through the street in the evening and you’ll be hard-pressed to not be offered a drink from some locals sitting on their doorstep, or maybe camped out in front of a karaoke bar.


Communities are strong, and families are even stronger. To be a new face in a tiny town like Nakae, in Isaan, is like being a puppy that just leapt out of a present from under the tree.


It’s blistering hot, all day and every day. There are beetles, scorpions, and snakes that would make an Oregon-native cringe; and things like hot water and bug-less beverages aren’t necessarily a guarantee.


But the Mountain might have something to learn from this albeit simple community.

So, wherever you are, take a deep breath of the air around you, whether it’s filled with falling snow, or dripping with sticky heat. Live for right now, with that very breath, and the problems just fade away.


Mai bpen rai, my Mountain friends.

, my Mountain friends.
Chewing the Fat in a Wienermobile by Ned Hickson on 10/01/2012
After more than a decade of working in the high-pressure environment of our newsroom, where at any given moment you could find yourself surrounded by as many as two other journalists all typing at once, it takes a lot to get our adrenaline pumping.

In fact, we have been at the epicenter of the national spotlight three times here in Florence. Sure, two occasions came after being singled out as having the nation¹s highest rate of  ... (yawn) ... retirees. But the third time involved REAL explosives.

And a dead whale.

And quite possibly an unlicensed demolitions expert going through a divorce.
This would explain using half a ton of dynamite to dispose of a rotting whale carcass that washed ashore, and how one onlooker literally chewed the fat after being struck by a piece of flying whale blubber.

Hey, it was 1970! Whales didn¹t have the safety features they have today!
Even experts, with their fancy calculations for trajectory, explosive force, velocity, alcohol content, etc., couldn¹t have anticipated a piece of whale fat, roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, taking out an actual Volkswagen Beetle.

Because we are subjected to this kind of tension-filled atmosphere on a regular basis, last week, when a 27-foot-long Wienermobile rolled into town, we met it with the kind objectivity you¹d expect from seasoned journalists who laugh in the face of high-velocity whale fat: We immediately leaped from our chairs and simultaneously wedged ourselves in the doorway so tightly we had to be dislodged with a copy machine.

This left our editor with the difficult task of deciding who would cover this assignment. After taking into account experience, dedication and overall proximity to the door, she chose me to cover the giant Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. 

I have to admit, after seeing the size and scope of this story, I began to feel a little inadequate.

However, Wienermobile driver “Lots-of-Ketchup” Lisa assured me this reaction was very common. She then took me on a tour of the Wienermobile, which can seat eight comfortably, or as many as 26 uncomfortably, depending on how strictly the seatbelt law is enforced in your area, particularly when it involves people riding on top of a 27-foot-long hot dog.

I know what you¹re thinking: How can I get a job like THAT?!?

OK, maybe it was just me.

But according to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile website (www.hotdoggerblog.com), any college graduate who is “outgoing, creative, friendly, and who has an appetite for adventure” can be a candidate.

Having a good driving record also helps because, according to Lisa, in spite of its naturally aerodynamic design, handling a wiener of these proportions on the open road, and even proper waxing and buffing, takes practice, which is why drivers must attend special classes at “Hot Dog High,” and why, coincidentally, I am moving on to the next paragraph as quickly as possible, while this is still a family friendly column.

I would like to thank Lisa and the folks at Oscar Mayer for including us on their national tour. 
I¹d also like to thank them for avoiding fatty fillers in their hot dogs; the last time something 27 feet long and full of fat came to Florence, the results were explosive.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@the siuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News, PO Box 10, Florence, OR 97439, or visit his blog at nedhickson.wordpress.com.)
Cooler, Drier October in the Forecast by Herb Miller on 10/01/2012
It isn’t often that people in our area would welcome a good rainstorm, but this may be one of those times. Brightwood has received less than half an inch of precipitation since July 3. 

Admittedly this is our dry season, but many of us would like to see a good drenching tht would reduce the fire danger. In addition to being dry, daytime temperatures have averaged well above normal during the first 18 days, especially in the Hoodland area. Temperatures moderated after that, but it remained dry.

In October, the National Weather Service expects temperatues in our area to be slightly lower than average, due principally to the cold surface waters of the Pacific that border the coastline from Alaska to Mexico. Precipitation is again expected to be less than average. For that matter, our area is forecast to be drier than average during the entire fall and winter months. If this holds true, snowfall on the Mountain could be a problem, but flood threats would be reduced.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59, an average low of 42, and a precipitation average of 6.24 inches. Only 3 of the last 10 years failed to have a high reach into the 70s, but none of the remaining seven years got into the 80s. The record high of 91 was recorded Oct. 10, 1991. Low temperatures fell to freezing or lower during 8 of the past 10 years, and the other two fell into the low 30s. The record high precipitation of 12.87 inches fell during 1996, and the record snowfall of 7 inches was measured Oct. 31, 1994.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during October is 54, the average low is 36, with an average precipitation amount of 6.99 inches, including an average of 5.4 inches of snow. High temperatures are evenly divided between reaching the 60s or 70s during the past nine years, with the record high of 83 set Oct. 12, 1991. Low temperatures routinely fell into the 20s during the past nine years, with one exception when a low of 19 was recorded. The record low of 10 degrees was set Oct. 28, 1971, although more recently, a low of 16 was recorded Oct. 30, 2002. The record snowfall of 15 inches was measured Oct. 28, 1961, compared to the recent 12-inch snowfall Oct. 27, 2009.
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 10/01/2012
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked beneath the shadow of our majestic mountain, framed by the yellow and red foliage of fall.  

We are now traveling through the most colorful season of the year and the bright sunshine adds even more grandeur to the scene set before us.  

As we know, deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn.  As the daylight hours become shorter and the nights get colder, the work of the leaf cells slows down and the water supply is cut off at the base of the leaf by a layer of loosely connected cells. This causes the leaves to dry and fall off the tree. It’s during this time that we can watch the delightful colors as the green chlorophyll disappears from the leaf, uncovering the orange and yellow pigments.  

We are blessed to live on the Mountain where we can enjoy the colored leaves in the vine and big leaf maples and the gold of the cottonwoods. 

Vine maple is quite easy to transplant if you wish to add some fall color to your landscape. Keep in mind that the vine maple planted in the sun is more reddish in coloration, while the shaded vine maple tends to produce more yellowish leaves.  
The Japanese larch is also an interesting tree to add to your landscape. The larch is one of the conifers that lose their needles in the fall, but before they do they will turn a bright golden yellow. You can see groves of our native Western larch flank the mountainsides east of Government Camp. Some think they are dying trees but this is their true nature and they will regrow their feathery fresh green foliage in the spring.  
October can be a good month for planting bulbs, berries, evergreens, shrubs and anything you desire. The fall and winter rains will water them well and by spring their roots can establish new growth in the damp soil. 
 
Don’t forget to add some pansies to your fall plantings.  Their bright faces look so cheerful and they will bloom until hard frost, reblooming again in the spring and often through the following summer.  Just be sure to give them some light, pansies don’t flourish in the shade. Dusty miller, on the other hand, can tolerate some shade and its silver foliage adds to the evergreens and/or the pansies. They will often make it through a cold winter.  

The migration of birds is well underway by now and wild ducks are no exception. Keep an eye out for a puffy headed plump little duck with a big white patch at the back of its head. These are the bufflehead ducks. They are quite common from October to May, when they depart and head north to nest. They can be sighted on ponds, lakes, marshes and even flooded farm fields.  

Until next time, have fun in your fall plantings and may you have peace and joy in simply gardening.  
Broken Harbor: Especially Creepy by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2012
Author Tana French never disappoints me but I found the plot of “Broken Harbor” to be especially creepy and the psychological intensity of the setting in an almost-abandoned housing development on the sea only magnified the psychological components of the story.

“The long boom and shush of the sea rushed up and met us head-on, like a welcome or a challenge.”

“Broken Harbor” is French’s fourth novel and, once again, she takes a secondary character from a previous book as the protagonist in this novel. Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, is the Dublin Murder Squad’s top detective and the tale begins as he is assigned a murder case with troubling deaths of a father and two young children during a violent night in their immaculate, kid-centered home. The mother is severely injured but still clings to life. The house and the investigation is full of questions: unexplained holes in the walls, sophisticated video monitors, fears of an intruder who is able to overcome the alarm system at will, erased computer files and an isolated, almost gothic setting on the remote Irish coast. 

The psychological setting is just as upsetting – a perfect marriage and a meticulously orderly family life that could have gone “off the rails” after prolonged unemployment that takes away hope and creates embarrassment and isolation. 

But did one of the two adults in the household commit the murders? If so, why? Or is the mysterious intruder or someone from their past responsible for the heinous crimes? 

“The top of the road was dark, shadowed by houses; the bottom stretch curved into moonlight.”

A familiar theme in French’s books is present here. Detective Scorcher has a difficult personal connection with the location of the murders, a connection that is difficult and upsetting to reflect upon, even after so many years. As Scorcher is obsessively working his murder case, his younger, emotionally disturbed sister is losing her tenuous hold on reality over her dark personal memories of Broken Harbor – now the “Briantown” development – where the murders take place.

“The goggles turned the sea invisible, a bottomless black. At the top of the street the gray crisscross of scaffolding stretched away into the distance; an owl floated across the road, drifting on the air currents like a sheet of burning paper. The stillness went on and on.”

Tana French’s amazing writing is perhaps even stronger in this book than in her previous novels. I continue to be impressed by her unique voice, her insight into complex psychological aspects of character and mood as well as her ability to spin emotional dialog for countless pages without losing any intensity of interest for the reader.

If you love mysteries that are wrought with intricate ethical dilemmas and dark psychological twists, Tana French delivers. I could hardly put this book down.
Previous work by Tana French includes “In the Woods,” “The Likeness” and “Faithful Place,” all set in Dublin, Ireland. You can’t go wrong with any of these novels which can be read in any order. “In the Woods” – her first novel – was recognized with the Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America, honoring the best in mystery fiction. Ms. French has lived in Dublin since 1990.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Fashion with a Thai Twist by Geoff Berteau on 10/01/2012
(Editor’s note:  Geoff has moved to Thailand, where he has taken a teaching position at a Buddhist high school. But he couldn’t avoid his business connection to the Mountain community.)

Stepping off a plane into Thailand, a Mountain dweller might feel as though they have stepped onto Mars, or perhaps the surface of the sun, depending on the time of year.
Vendors line the streets like sand on a beach, taxis sit poised at every corner, and everything you might think you knew about how things work is just a little bit different on this side of the world.  

Bangkok is the living definition of the steamy Asian megalopolis. But for some, it’s the land of milk and honey. 

Bim Mode moved to Bangkok from Burma 23 years ago to find a good place to run an honest business and is now an official Thai resident.  

“I like Thailand, Thai people, and Thai culture,” Mode said, “And Bangkok is good for business. My business is here in Bangkok, so I like Bangkok.”

Mode owns and operates two tailor shops and a restaurant, but their success is a touristic teeter-totter, depending on the season.

“Sometimes we won’t have any business at all for two, three, and sometimes even four days at a time,” Mode said. “But it always seems to pick up again, eventually.”

B. Mode Fashion is located in the throbbing heart of the tourist (farang) sector: the Khao San Market District.

Alex Diyali, also from Burma but a Bangkok native for the last seven years, helps Mode with keeping things afloat in a sea of similar storefronts. 

“We sell lots of different stuff: suits, trousers, ties, whatever the customer likes,” Diyali said, pointing outside to an assortment of portable audio equipment, swiss-army knives, and other attention-getting knick-knacks located in the front of the store, arranged delicately like dinnerware for a royal feast. 

While in America it might be strange to multitask selling doodads with fancy threads, on this side of the world it’s just another way to make money. 

“For me, it’s not strange at all to sell multiple types of things in one store,” Diyali said. “Working here, I size for suits, clean the mirrors, ask the customers questions, and sell speakers in the front. I do a little bit of everything.”

It’s all quite clever, given the location, with hundreds of foreigners flowing through every hour like a ritzy western river.

“People stop to look at our things out front, then they might take a look inside,” Mode said. “It depends on the location, which I have had several, but not everyone is looking to buy a new suit at any given time.”

Competition is fierce, too, with seemingly dozens of other tailors on the same block. 
But B. Mode Fashion aspires to stand apart. 

“We don’t hassle customers as they walk by (a common practice in Bangkok); our quality of service is important to us,” Mode said. “We don’t like just one-time business. People are happy when they leave because we try to give them exactly what they want.”

Neither Diyali nor Mode have been to the U.S., but both are able to identify an American accent from any other after hardly even a “hello” and “how are you, today?”
B. Mode Fashion is located in the Khao San Market in Banglamphu, Bangkok. 

Mode boasts to keep measurements on record for upwards of five years and even accepts worldwide mail orders. 

They can be contacted at b.modefashion@hotmail.com.
Existing in a truly different world, Mountain-goers would be sure to leave smiling (and dressed to impress!) from B. Mode Fashion.
Healthy Reading Tips for the Coming Winter by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2012
As school buses head down the road and the weather sometimes gives a blazing finish to summer, we find ourselves preparing for the inevitable changes as we wind down the year. As our students hit the books, we should too.

Learning never stops.

The approach of fall and winter remind us that once again we are about to face increasingly dark days, colder weather, high gas prices, and the possibility of power outages. Things that keep us at home more.

So don’t fight it, prepare for at-homeness with my suggested reading list. There are areas we should all study in preparation for any changes that may come our way.

Changes in weather, health, or working status. And remember, learning is virtually free.
Books to have on hand for short term emergencies include the “Where There Is No Doctor” series, which includes “No Dentist,” “Women Have No Doctor,” and “A Book for Midwives,” should that be appropriate for your possible emergency needs.

All of these books contain life-saving information for people who may be unable to obtain medical care for whatever reason. Detailed and thorough, they may contain anatomically correct illustrations not suitable for children or the squeamish. If you decide to own these books, place them with your emergency preparedness kits.

Simple treatments that could keep you from a trip to the ER can be found in “Home Remedies” by the Drs. Agatha and Calvin Thrash. This book focuses on the treatments accepted and used by medical doctors from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

This was a time when even the royalty of Europe flocked to the sanitariums of the United States for what seemed like miraculous cures with simple protocols like hydrotherapy, massage, nutrition, and rest.

Regular readers of my columns know that I believe good nutrition is one of the keys to good health. Two excellent books on the topic of nutrition are “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campell, a father and son team. This book shows the relationship between diet and disease and will change the way you look at food faster than any ad for fast food could possibly do!

Any of Michael Pollan’s books (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” etc.) will bring you up to speed on current trends in food and nutrition and are also highly recommended.

If someone you know is battling a life-threatening condition, read “Cancer as a Turning Point” by Lawrence LeShan, PhD, In fact, it might be an easier read before facing disease in your family.

“Beating Cancer with Nutrition” by Patrick Quillan, PhD. is also an excellent book to wade through before illness strikes. Can be used as a guide to avoid illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Earlier editions of this book (1990s to early 2000) list me as a nutritionally oriented, adjunctive practitioner though since I sold the Schoolhouse a couple of years ago, the contact information will no longer be correct.

Current contact information is available in every edition of this newspaper.

 All of this reading material is available through your local library or bookstore and can be found at Powell’s bookstore or online.

Fall is learning time.

In Oregon the long, dark, rainy-snowy season that is most assuredlly coming all too soon will, nonetheless, give us moments to pause and read, recuperate, and rest. Happy reading.

(Victoria Larson is a naturapathic doctor, and can be reached at 503-515-9091.)
An Idyllic Life Disrupted -- at a Montana Bar by Sandra Palmer on 09/01/2012
“My father was the best bartender who ever lived.”

Thus begins “The Bartender’s Tale” by Ivan Doig, a famed Northwest author who can spin a yarn better than most.

And this new novel is certainly one of his very best.

The bartender in the tale is Tom Harry, father of Rusty, a motherless boy – an “accident between the sheets” – who is dearly loved by his dad who keeps his past shrouded in mystery, especially including the identity of Rusty’s mother.

This leaves Rusty lots of room to imagine – and worry over – potential birth mother scenarios and how they might play out should his mother’s identity finally be revealed.
After many of his young years in the care of his aunt and subject to the unruly and unpleasant behavior of his cousins in Arizona, Rusty is permanently rescued by Tom who runs a revered institution – “The Medicine Lodge” saloon – in Gros Ventre, Montana.
After an initial period of adjustment, Rusty and Tom develop a comfortable father-son routine only occasionally interrupted by Tom’s mysterious trips to Canada to pawn items left behind in lieu of payment by his customers.

Rusty worries greatly during these absences by his father even though he is left in the loving care of an elderly couple in town, always worrying that his father might bring home a new wife or that he is slipping away to see Rusty’s mysterious birth mother.
But, in general, life runs smoothly with Rusty spending much of his time in the back room of the “joint” where he can overhear conversations, observe (and listen to) his father and the bar’s patrons through a strategically placed ventilation grill, work on his homework and fantasize about the endless variety of loot left behind by customers for potential future redemption.

On occasional days off, Rusty often heads out with his father who teaches him to fly fish and shows him the area’s interesting geology.

Yep, it’s pretty pleasant and calm until a few unexpected characters arrive in town.

First, the local café’s new owners arrive with their daughter, Zoe, who is Rusty’s age with whom he immediately becomes fast friends. Soon Zoe is part of the zany gossip and imaginative play in the backroom at the bar.

Then Proxy, an extremely well-endowed former taxi dancer at the Blue Eagle Saloon once run by his dad, appears with her daughter Francine in tow who she claims is Tom’s daughter.

Next, a history buff named Del also pulls into town in a small trailer full of elaborate recording equipment, intent on completing an Oral History Project using Tom as his primary source of information and contacts.

Soon the solid and predictable small-town life with which Tom and Rusty were so comfortable is turned upside down and it’s hard to say where it is headed.

 Readers familiar with Ivan Doig can be assured this novel contains an abundance of Doig’s amazing gift for dialog as well as his almost magical portrayal of ordinary life scenes – baseball games, fly casting and picnics.

It’s such a wonderful trip that you will be truly sorry when it’s over, looking forward to Ivan Doig’s next nostalgic journey into a simpler time.

“But that’s another story.”

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 09/01/2012
Welcome to our little late summer garden corner nestled beneath the shadow of our towering Mount Hood. 

The signs of late summer are certainly all around us; the dry grass, the serenade of crickets after sundown, the tired old vegetable garden and the smoky haze in the air.
  Alas, soon the rains will come and we will be wishing we had accomplished more during our dry spell.

September is often our nicest month for last minute planting before the fall rains.  It is a good time for planting berries and other edible fruit trees or vines. 

A few interesting suggestions are listed below.

The Desert King fig is a great variety of fig for our cooler climate (don’t let the name fool you!). The Goji is a Chinese native with bright red berries that are very high in anti-oxidants and it is hardy to -10 degrees. 

The paw paw needs two to pollinate but is hardy to -25 degrees and bears fruit in 2-3 years with a banana-like flavor. 

The pomegranate, which is often grown in the Middle East where the climate is warmer, can be grown in our area as a container plant and taken in for severe winter protection.  The Russian variety (favorite) is hardy to -10 and is a good variety for our region.  
The Chinese dogwood, both the pink and white varieties, produce fruit that makes wonderful jam. This dogwood is disease resistant and quite hardy. 

Speaking of dogwood, if you see some dogwoods with curled up leaves they are probably just complaining about the hot weather. They are usually just fine otherwise.
Then there are raspberries, which are great for fall planting too.  The little Arctic raspberry (called Anna) makes for wonderful groundcover as it is quite low growing. It is extremely hardy down to -50  degrees and would do nicely in places like Government Camp. 

The fall gold raspberry ripens in early fall with sweet orange fruit.
 
For something different, try the pink lemonade blueberries which are actually pink when ripe. 

Another unique edible is the honeyberry which is a hardy, small shrub that belongs to the honeysuckle family. They produce an elongated blueberry-like fruit and are a good choice for the higher climates like Government Camp as they are good to -40. Keep in mind though that it takes two varieties for pollination.
 
If you are looking for a beautiful fast growing vine with large fragrant flowers, try hops. You don’t have to be a beer brewer to enjoy these plants. They are very hardy and will die back in the winter only to come back in the spring.

Most of the songbirds we heard earlier are giving their vocal cords a rest until spring.  Somewhere in the dry brush of the woodlands a “tsip” can be heard and on closer investigation, a small gray bird can be seen. Like a little round ball, the bushtit is the smallest North American bird except, of course, for the hummingbird.  They are usually seen in large groups and like suet feeders.  They build long hanging nests of moss, lichen and spider webs. This is a unique little bird we can enjoy year round. 

Well, that’s it for this time.  Have a peaceful, happy time this fall in simply gardening.

Hickson
Going on Safari? Always Bring a Chimp by Ned Hickson on 09/01/2012
At this moment, someone at Apple is undoubtedly being rousted out of bed to address the fact that my Safari web browser suddenly crashed without warning.

This probably hasn’t happened to you. At least not since starting this paragraph. But it happens to me a lot, especially while reading the latest news on the presidential race, when I often find myself snoring face down on my keyboard.

But when I awake, there is a helpful pop-up window telling me my Safari application has unexpectedly quit, just in case I wasn’t aware of this, and was continuing to pound the space bar like a chimp trying to open a coconut.

I would never do that, of course. We have an IT department fully capable of pounding the space bar for me. Assuming “Chim-Chim” isn’t busy throwing yesterday’s lunch at someone.

Regardless, there are always three options in the pop-up window to help resolve the situation: close, reopen and report. Without getting too technical, I will explain how each of these work:

Close: After clicking on this option, your Safari window closes much the same as it did on its own, usually while in the middle of a critical banking or Fantasy Football transaction, except with the added satisfaction of having done it to yourself;

Reopen: Clicking on this will reopen your Safari window, providing you with an opportunity to blink before blankly staring at the same three helpful options again;

Report: I could be wrong, but I suspect this works much like crosswalk buttons, which are spring loaded and connected directly to ...

Nothing.

Their sole purpose is to provide pedestrians with something to do until the light changes every three minutes anyway, regardless of how many times they pound the button into the light pole.

Because of this suspicion, I have never actually used the report option until this morning when, in an act of desperation, I clicked on it and suddenly heard cars crashing in the crosswalk outside our office.

Ok, not really. But I was promptly given an official looking window to write in, along with an equally official send to apple button to click.
 
At the bottom, in small print, I was assured no personal information would be sent with the report, nor would anyone contact me as a result of submitting it, thereby making it nearly impossible for someone named “P-Ram” to track me down and take my computer.

To be safe, I decided to keep Chim-Chim with me anyway.

Looking at the text window, there was limited space for my report. Being a journalist, I am used to using words usefully, and not just filling space with useless words that might otherwise be used for something useful, to wit I wrote: Hi. I’d like to report that Safari stinks.

Satisfied that I accurately described my problem to the folks at Apple, I pressed the send button.

The response was almost immediate. The question is, how long I should let Chim-Chim pound the space bar.

(Write to Ned at Siuslaw News, PO Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439, or by e-mail at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com. Visit his blog at nedhickson.wordpress.com)

Drier, Cooler September Expected by Herb Miller on 09/01/2012
August emphatically removed any expectations this summer would end without experiencing a heat wave. The 96-degree high in Brightwood August 4 was a harbinger of the e-day readings of 93, 95 and 94 recorded August 15, 16 and 17, respectively.
Government Camp recorded several days in the 80s, topped with a high of 88 August 17.

Sunny, warm days prevailed during the month through the heat wave and the average high in Brightwood was an impressive 8 degrees above average. Temperatures moderated and turned more seasonal the final two weeks. But only a trace of rainfall occurred and the fire danger continues to be critical.

For September, the National Weather Service expects temperatures in our area to be near or slightly lower than average, with precipitation again lower than average. They still have their eye on an El Nino pattern, but don’t expect it to affect our September weather.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperture of 70 degrees, an average low of 47, and a precipitation average of 3.34 inches. Only one year in the past 10 failed to have a high get above the 70s. Six made the 80s, and three got into the 90s. The record high of 102 was set Sept. 2, 1988. Lows routinely drop into the upper 30s, and the record low of 32 was set recently on Sept. 24, 2005.

In Government Camp the average high temperature during September is 63 degrees, the average low is 42, with an average precipitation amount of 3.44 inches. Snowfall is rare, but over a 10-year period, averages a total of 2 inches. Six of the past nine years had highs reach the 80s, and the other three had highs in the 70s. The record high of 94 was set Sept. 4, 1988. Seven of the past nine years had lows drop down to freezing and the other two had lows in the mid 30s. The record low of 23 was recorded Sept. 27, 1972. Most snowfall of 3 inches was recorded Sept. 23, 1984, although a measurable 0.2 inch amount occurred only three years ago on Sept. 30, 2009.

The Thai Home crew.
A Thai Home and Hazelnuts by Geoff Berteau on 09/01/2012
Thai Home
It is a scientific fact: Thai food is one of the most diverse and exciting cuisines in the world. It’s delicious, but sometimes can be hard to find done right. But worry not, Mountain-goers, because you can find it right at home--at Thai Home.

Owner Krittaya Sittikul moved to The Mountain from California eight years ago, at the same time she opened Thai Home Restaurant in Sandy. Before living in America, Sittikul lived in Nakhon Sawan, in central Thailand.

“I love the community here,” Sittikul said. “It’s like a family.”

 Thai Home Restaurant offers mainly traditional cuisine with appetizers, soups, salads, curries, noodles, fried rice dishes and specials like ginger mushroom shrimp or pad see-ewe. They also offer lunch specials. 

Sittikul is proud of Thai Home’s food and the menu is always evolving, and they enjoy getting input. She prioritizes bringing dishes that are destined to please.

“Maybe if a dish sometime isn’t something a person likes, we can change it and make it better,” Sittikul said. “It makes it feel more like a family.”

Thai Home Restaurant is located in Sandy on Pioneer Blvd, next to the old Schoolhouse of Natural Medicine.

They are open from 11 to 9, Monday through Friday, and from noon to 9 on weekends. Their lunch specials are offered weekdays from 11 to 3.

Hazelnut House Bakery
Since Martin Goplen opened the doors to Hazelnut House Bakery on August 1, Mountain residents have been treated to some Norwegian treats that are truly extra-fjordinary.

Serving up hazelnut, coconut crème, apple (and sugar-free apple) and peach pies as well as banana bread, brownies, and Scandinavian delights like bolle and lefse, Goplen has been baking since he was a kid, learning with his mother as the youngest of five siblings.

“My first job was in a bakery and I’ve been baking ever since,” Goplen said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.”

 Goplen has been on The Mountain for the last 15 years or so, residing in Portland for several years before that, often visiting Mt. Hood while living in Portland.

“We really like the community here,” Goplen said. “I think people will want to come to my bakery because I just like baking. It’s what I really like.”

Whether it’s a Danish waffle cookie or a Finnish finger, sweet tooths have plenty to get excited about at the Hazelnut House Bakery.

By popular request, Goplen will also be preparing fresh bread soon.

The Hazelnut House Bakery is open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..
They are located on E. Stage Stop Rd., across from the post office.
Food is Cheaper and Healthier than Supplements by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2012
In last month’s column I said that the most valuable attribute of money is that it “talks.” How you spend your money makes a difference in how the world works. What is available and what isn’t. How fast things get to you, how fresh they are when they do.
WE make these choices, or should be, not the corporations that would have us buy into what they want us to purchase.

A lot of factors affect cost and even more affect our choices.

When we don’t think things through we may make foolsih deciscions or choices. Taking responsibility is more difficult, and sometimes more costly, than the easy way.

Food is cheaper and healthier than supplements, yet many people would rather take the pill than make changes in their lifestyle choices. Scrimping on the cost of food in order to take a multivitamin is not a wise choice. As a nation we spend less on food than other countries. And we buy more junk – both food and stuff.

Historically, Americans now spend less of their income on food than we did fifty or a hundred years ago. And then almost everyone had a garden or access to street vendors.

I work for a Damascus farmer and find it interesting that some customers comment on the rising cost at the farmstand, when in fact, most of the prices have not changed in two to three years.

Are these comments being fueled by media reports?

The price of many grocery store items are increasing (think corn for instance) but locally grown produce, that has not been shipped in from the farm belt of California or Mexico or Chile for instance, has remained pretty stable.

Americans’ favorite past-time may be complaining. We complain about things we have no control over, like weather and taxes. We complain about things we have some control over, like traffic decisions and aging issues. But to complain about something you have pretty much total control over makes no sense. How you spend your money in health costs is largely in your hands.

Spend more money on food and you’ll not need to spend so much on healthcare. Simple, right? So how come some patients complain about the cost of their prescribed supplements. After all, these were not prescribed for my benefit, but for theirs.
Some patients deal with this complaint by buying over-the-counter supplements, only to find that they don’t work the same and they eventually come back to the higher quality prescribed ones.

Perhaps these patients have forgotten that their prescribed supplements, many of them formulated and even manufactured in the greater Portland area, are for their benefit.
It is the patient who is keeping that cancer, diabetes, heart disease at bay. The lack of gratitude attitude is particularly amusing when the price complaint comes from someone who drives a Lexus or gets their nails done every week.

Money talks. Where do you want to spend your money? On toxic substance for your nails or supplements and food that keep diabetes at bay?

Where does the value lie in the dollar equation? None of us feel that we have enough. All of us want more. But stepping out of that equation and looking at the big picture reminds me of an encounter I had a couple of years ago with a wonderful woman at New Seasons. She and I were standing shoulder to shoulder at the bag-it-yourself herb and spice counter. A good way to save money by the way. We were marvelling at the fact that so many of the organic spices were on sale. They come directly from the Frontier co-operative, the importing company.

Virtually all other herbs and spices are from merchandisers, not importers so that alone keeps the price down. I simply cannot buy into the four-dollar-a-bottle spice jars in most grocery stores.

The customer and I got to talking while bagging our spices and discovered that both of us were single (and aging) women who buy almost exclusively organic foods. Both of us declared ourselves happier and healthier than we’ve ever been in our lives.

A three story house may, or may not, make you happy. But local and organic food, supplements, and lifestyle changes will make you healthier and therefore happier. It’s worth a try isn’t it?

Making such choices is up to you. How you spend your dollar will tell you, and the community, how you feel about these things. That tiny thirty-eight cent bundle of cilantro from WinCo is certainly a monetary bargain.

But the large one dollar bundle of organic cilantro I sell at the Boring Farmers’ Market is fresher, keeps longer, and will please your palate more.

I consider that a better bargain for you, for me, and for the community at large.

Keep your community alive by keeping your dollars closer to home and buying closer to home.

Buy from farmers’ markets, CSAs, and roadside entrepreneurs for better taste, better economy, and better health for all.

Just plain better all around.

(Contact Victoria Larson at 503-515-9091.)
Juliet Touches Those Who Struggle by Sandra Palmer on 08/01/2012
Dianne Warren uses spare, elegant prose to compose this outstanding first novel with very loosely intersecting stories set in Juliet, Saskatchewan during a few short days in August. The book has been honored in Canada for good reason – it’s an outstanding book that sweeps you into the quiet, ordinary lives of people in a small town with honest emotion and authentic characters that are easy to believe and to care about.

We meet Lee, a lonely, hard-working and sincere young man who is a bit awkward about the reality of the ranch he has inherited from his adopted parents. When a lost Arabian horse wonders onto the property, Lee impulsively sets out for a ride into the neighboring sand dunes that turns into much more than he had planned. The stray Arabian horse made its escape from a trailer when the female owner stopped at a rest stop after impulsively purchasing the horse on her way to a reunion with her estranged daughter’s family. Gentle trucker Hank who encounters the woman (Janey) on his way back to town takes her number so that he can notify her if he finds the horse. Unfortunately, when he arrives home the note with Janey’s phone number falls from his pocket, causing his wife to go into a completely unwarranted jealous tizzy.

Meanwhile his wife Lynn is trying out her new pie recipe on the regulars at the diner, including Willard who lives with his widowed sister-in-law and runs the local drive-in theatre. Both Willard and his sister-in-law Marian have strong feelings for each other that they have not expressed and are not able to fully admit, even to themselves.
The local banker, Norval, is under enormous pressure from his wife Lila who is obsessed with intricate preparations for the soon-to-come wedding of their pregnant daughter to an irresponsible young man who happens to be the father of her child.

This is very stressful and difficult for Norval on top of his many business worries about the bank’s financial risks with struggling local farmers like Blaine and Vickie who are trying to raise six kids on their already greatly reduced acreage while Blaine works odd highway construction jobs to try to stay ahead and Vicki dithers time away, afraid to face the reality of potential financial calamity just around the corner.

And so it goes as the many lives in Juliet touch briefly as folks struggle to survive, tragedies great and small occur and must be coped with, surprising revelations cause life to take unexpected turns and neighbors help out neighbors. Sound familiar?
Dianne Warren is the author of many short stories and plays. Juliet in August is her first novel. It won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for fiction, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes (published under the title Cool Water). Warren lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.
 
(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 08/01/2012
Welcome to our little garden corner nestled beneath our beautiful towering Mount Hood.  
Here it is midsummer and just a while ago we were planning for spring. This time of year can be the most trying season for growing plants. This is usually the time of year we experience drier weather and our plants have to be kept watered in order to produce veggies, fruits or flowers. The hanging baskets may be looking a bit tired because all the watering we do (and they need) leaches the nutrients out of the soil. For replenishment, try some fish fertilizer; just be sure to read the instructions on how to apply it.

If you see aphids on some of your plants, you can try a forced water spray from a hose to wash them away or you can use Neem oil which can be used for organic gardening up to the day of harvest and also works for other insects, mites and fungal diseases.
This is usually the time for evening barbecues; unfortunately it’s also the time for mosquitoes enjoying their own evening meal as well. The females are the pesky ones and like fresh blood to feed their eggs. Eggs can hatch within 48 hours but can also lay dormant for several years waiting for water and warm weather. Mosquitoes also feed on nectar of flowers, like butterflies do. Mosquito “dunks” are a good way to control these bothersome insects and the dunks don’t harm the water for livestock or any other pets if placed in their watering source.  Herbal sprays containing lemon grass or citronella can be helpful in repelling mosquitoes too.

Now that most of the bird nestlings have “flown the coop,” the bird world is rather quiet.
However, high wire electric lines are good gathering places for the swallow family. Their twitters permeate the air as they congregate.

The most common species are the tree swallow and violet green. The tree swallow has more of a variety of chirps and whistles than the violet green. The tree swallow is more iridescent blue above with white under parts, while the violet-green swallow not only has a white belly but also has white flank patches near the tail. Both birds nest in natural cavities or nest boxes provided for them. 

By the way, if you are strolling in the woods now, keep an eye open for the blooming rattle snake orchid. The long stalk with tiny white flowers stands above a matted green cluster of leaves. They are native in our woods and bloom in summer.

Until next time, have a wonderful and peaceful summer of simply gardening.


Don't Expect a Heat Wave this Summer by Herb Miller on 08/01/2012
The precipitation total in Brightwood in June was 8.72 inches, making it the fourth wettest in more than 40 years – a bit short of the 9.03 inches in 2010, but well shy of the 11.10 inches set in 1981.

As is frequently the case, the wet weather ended after the Fourth of July, with only sporadic periods of minor rain amounts during the remainder of the month. Most of the days had abundant sunshine although temperatures averaged near normal, despite the sunshine. It appears this will be the second consecutive July that failed to have a high temperature reach 90 in Brightwood. Prospects for a heat wave this summer appear unlikely and we can be grateful the fire danger may be relatively modest, provided threats from lightning stay under control.

For August, the National Weather Service expects our area to again have average temperatures but below average precipitation. The coastal waters bordering the area from Alaska southward to the California border are colder than usual, resulting in a cooling effect on the land area inland that’s under this influence.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.52 inches. All of the last 10 years had a high temperature reach at least 90 degrees, and the year 2002 chalked up an even 100. On average, there are two days reaching at least 90, and the record of 106 was set August 8, 1981. Low temperatures nearly always drop into the 40s, the record low being 36 set in 1980. The precipitation record of 7.23 inches was set just eight years ago.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during August is 68 degrees, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.64 inches. Six of the last nine years had highs reach into the 80s, and the other three got into the 90s. The record of 105 was recorded way back on August 18, 1977, but within the past 10 years there was a high of 96 in 2002 and a high of 95 in 2008. Low temperatures usually bottom out in the 30s with the record low being 32 set on August 29, 1980. The precipitation record of 5.29 inches was set in 2004, same as with Brightwood.
Take Care of Ourselves, Take Care of Each Other by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2012
We all eat, whether intelligently or not. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I find the topic of food fascinating.

In fact, years ago after reading of a study in Seattle, I decided to conduct my own survey to confirm the Seattle study. I interviewed customers coming out of Natures and Whole Foods, asking them what they bought, why they shopped there, their level of schooling, and income level if they were comfortable with stating a range. I was looking at going to medical school and trying to figure out if I should apply to Oregon Health Sciences University or the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Then, the state of Oregon had 5,000 medical doctors and about 500 naturopathic doctors. Both OHSU and NCNM graduated about the same number of students each year, about 80. There have been increases in all those numbers and better acceptance on both sides. There is room for both MDs and NDs in the healthcare area. In fact, there are MDs who come to NDs because they do not themselves want to take the medical drugs they are prescribing for their patients, or just because they know there are other resources available to them. And there are NDs who go to MDs for some screening tests or emergency room care. There’s room for lots of kinds of healthcare.

Many cardiologists and surgeons, those who actually see the inside of the body in their work, are praising the efforts of patients using alternative, herbal, homeopathic and naturopathic care. Part of a Doctor’s Oath is to be a teacher to his or her patients.

Teaching people to make healthy food and lifestyle choices is a good place to start. Better to avoid diabetes and cancer than to treat it.

Changes have come rapidly to our society and things are different now than when I was first just thinking about medical school. There were no “i” devices then and speed was not necessarily the order of the day. Now grocery stores try to garner our business not with their pricing but with their speed of checkout. There’s a lifestyle change I don’t need. Racing through life only gets you to the end sooner and the end point is not the goal of life.

Whereas that survey of 15 or 20 years ago showed that increased schooling and better income levels led to a desire for healthier food availability, now that surveyed group has changed with time passed. The young now have the requisite two-and-a-half children, a dog, and a minivan. Now they are leaning somewhat towards cheaper, faster food, even though they know this is not a good choice. You have to feed your kids just the same.

Hence, the young families of Happy Valley have both a New Seasons Fresh Market and a fast food row. They probably avail themselves of both.

The settled families of 15 or 20 years ago are now empty-nesters and facing aging issues. They may still want the healthy food but be unable to purchase it, or chew it, or want to cook it. But why someone from this age group, with good income and good education would even purchase bologna and white bread is hard to understand. Must be either nostalgia or a desire to do in their spouse with poor nutrition.

I don’t have the answer to the “whys” for anyone’s choices but I do feel that education is where we need to start. Removing sugary sodas from schools is probably not any government’s business and is undoubtedly fueling many a debate in the classroom. Putting them there in the first place is a good question though. Schools are in need of money but is this the equivalent of selling your soul? The vending machines in my high school (oh so many years ago) offered lemonade bars, apples (whole ones, not preserved slices), and bags of nuts. Junk food simply was not available at school. If you wanted some you brought your lunch from home and ate a repackaged bag of chips. Were we smarter then? Or too dumb to seek out sodas as a source of school income?
Education is important. I began teaching my grandkids about nutrition by the time they wanted solid foods. The “food game” as we called it, simply consisted of pictures of food cut out of magazines and paper plates and some glue. The goal was to put together a healthy meal. The reward was a magazine picture of a special treat. The treat might be a piece of fruit or a piece of pie. I didn’t want them stressed by no access to the occasional treat. This game could be done in daycares across the nation. A good start for a nutritional education.

Of course, I’m a real Pollyanna when it comes to the real world, so I loved the media story of the small town in England where edibles are planted everywhere. At City Hall, the police station, along the banks of the river, and sidewalk strips.

And add to that the fact that anybody could pick anything anytime they wanted.

Everything on a first come, first served basis may have meant that the fireman on his lunch break wouldn’t get the carrots or raspberries he was hankering for, but that was how it worked. It’s called food for all. Would that eliminate flash mobs? Portland neighborhoods are trying it out. Fruit trees along roadways, berries free for the picking, carrots pulled from planter boxes.

It all sounds good to me.

Our society and our economy is changing way too fast for most people to adjust to.
We don’t want anyone going hungry and we still want those who are doing the work of farming to survive. Constraints of lack of space or sun or infirmities or economic needs still bring people to the farm markets and farmstands and CSAs. Almost everyone can grow windowsill herbs, a pot of tomatoes, or a columnar apple tree.

The time is now to take care of ourselves and to take care of each other.
A Dreamer Follows a 'Star' by Sandra Palmer on 07/01/2012
It seems that almost everyone has a story about the past that haunts the present.

A story about a time that changed life’s direction and makes one wonder, “What if?”
The path not taken can have tons of allure – and, sometimes, staying power. It can seem impossible to let go of a dream even many years later. And how many of us can resist wondering about the relationship that might have been that we let slip away?

Jess Walter is certainly one of the Pacific Northwest’s most versatile authors and “Beautiful Ruins” may be his best and most ambitious book yet.

His interwoven tales in this novel move from an isolated harbor village in 1960s Italy to worldly, competitive present-day Hollywood and from exotic foreign movie sets to a quiet cabin in the Idaho woods where questions are  finally answered and hearts can finally heal.

The story begins in picturesque Porto Vergogna, Italy where we meet Pasquale Tursi, an optimistic and well-intentioned young dreamer who is seeking to keep his modest little hotel “Adequate View” going in spite of the simple village’s isolation by land and sea.
Earnestly he prepares for the coming of the pensione’s annual American guest Alvin Bender who visits each year to work on his novel (one chapter completed so far).
 
However, soon an unexpected boat arrives with yet another American visitor, a strikingly attractive blonde actress Dee Moray. The circumstances are mysterious but Dee is reportedly seeking quiet and isolation because of a terminal illness just diagnosed by a doctor on the film set of the classic movie “Cleopatra” (yes, indeed – the one with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) in which she has a small role.

Mysteriously, the beautiful but extremely ill Dee has been sent to Port Vergogne to wait for someone but her expected companion never arrives.

Intrigued by her circumstances, concerned about her fragile condition and mesmerized by her beauty, Pasquale seeks to help her and to understand what is wrong.

But the decisions he must make after befriending the American actress and examining his own life, soon turn his world upside down.

Ultimately Dee returns to America but Pasquale never forgets her and 50 years later he makes his way to Hollywood to try to locate her using his only tenuous connection, a worn business card from Cleopatra’s director that he has kept these many years.

Without giving away any of the story’s surprising twists, I can assure you that Pasquale’s sudden appearance in Hollywood creates quite a sensation among those familiar with Dee.

Along the way we meet a cast of other fascinating characters including a manic Hollywood mogul who appears freakish and unnatural after years of youth treatments and plastic surgeries; his hard-working and disillusioned assistant sick of hearing pitch after pitch after pitch and yearning for something more meaningful; and a determined screenwriter from Beaverton (!) with a blockbuster film idea based on the ill-fated Donner Party (!) of pioneers who tragically resorted to cannibalism while trapped in a snowstorm in the remote mountains.

Most of all, “Beautiful Ruins” is great fun and captivating, thought-provoking reading.
Sometimes, we just have to know the “rest of the story” and answer that great “what if” question for ourselves – even if we must travel half way around the world to do it.

Author Jess Walter is a former National Book Award finalist for “The Zero” and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for “Citizen Vince.” His recent novel “The Financial Lives of the Poets” was also a New York Times bestseller.

He lives with his wife Anne and three children in Spokane.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 07/01/2012
Welcome to our little garden corner tucked away in the shadow of our great mountain.  
In spite of our recent cool rains, we are still surrounded by summer in all of its glory.
 

What a fabulous time of year!  The birds are now in full song with the robin’s melody at the prelude of dawn and the Swainson’s thrush’s finale at twilight. The thrush calls will eventually fade, so enjoy them while you can. Throughout the daylight hours the yellow warbler can be heard calling, “sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet.” This little bird is easy to identify with reddish streaks on his bright yellow breast. The brown-headed cowbird often will lay its eggs in a yellow warbler nest, but the warblers are smart enough to know the difference and will make a new nest over the original and lay a fresh batch of eggs.

Those of you who missed our bee man (Joel Swink) at our garden party missed an awesome talk on honey bees. He patiently repeated his information with several groups of people as he had his bee equipment set up in our parking lot as a “show and tell.” He also had a very informative handout that consisted of four pages titled, “The Keeping of Honey Bees.” Some of the highlights are detailed below and if you would like a copy of your own, come see us!

A hive will cost around $200 today.

The hardware and all the equipment you need to protect yourself is the most expensive. These items include the smoker, veil, gloves and heavy clothing.

All honeybees were brought to the New World by European colonists.

Honeybees cannot go to many of our native plants because the mouth parts of the bees are not constructed to gather nectar from these types of flowers.

The honeybee is a warm blooded insect.

The honey bee has an advanced form of communication.  When one bee finds a good source of food, it will return to the hive and perform the “waggle dance” informing the other bees how far away and which direction to find the food.

The honeybee has an internal GPS.

Honeybees keep their brood at 91 degrees, allowing fast growth of the young.
Honeybees can be infected by a virus called “Nosema” which is prevalent in the Northwest. Mites can also be a hazard to the hive.

If you are interested in keeping bees, a must have good book for your library is “The Hive and the Honey Bee” edited by Dadant and Sons.

As you are out observing your flowers this summer, you may see some insects you might first think are honeybees. Look closely, you may be seeing one of our many garden flies. Bees have 2 pair of wings, while flies only have 1 set of wings. Bees have long antennae, while flies antennae are short. The flies you see in your garden are good flies, not garbage-infested pests. These garden flies also help pollinate and eat aphids.

Most of us like a tidy yard and garden, but let’s be careful not to destroy or mow all of our clover blossoms. They are a great nectar source for bees.

Until next time, have a peaceful and happy summer in simply gardening.
Cold, Soggy June; July? by Herb Miller on 07/01/2012
Once again the month got off to a cool start. Only one day reached above the normal average high temperature during the first two weeks.

A scattering of warm days followed, but weren’t consistent and the month ended with the average high temperature well below normal. Government Camp received a covering of snow on occasion, but nothing of consequence. Contrary to the forecast, rainfall was well above average, and this June goes into the books as being cool and wet.

For July the National Weather Service expects our area to have average temperatures but below average precipitation. Let’s hope they’re right this time. They’re also keeping an eye on the possibility of an El Nino weather pattern setting up. If this happens, a drier and warmer winter usually follows.

In July, Brightwood has average high temperature of 75, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.37 inches. Last year was the only year in the last 10 that failed to have a high temperature reach above the 80s. Four years had highs reach 100 or higher, and the other five have highs in the 90s. The record of 105 was set July 21, 2006. On average, July has three days with a high of 90 or higher. Lows consistently bottom out in the lower 40s, and the record low of 37 was July 8, 1981. A precipitation total of 2.17 inches was measured last year, compared to the record of 5.51 inches set in 1983.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during July is 68, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.08 inches. Two of the last nine years had highs reach into the 90s and the other seven had highs in 80s. The record of 99 was recorded way back on July 20, 1956, but recently a high of 94 was read July 22, 2006. Low temperatures usually bottom out in the upper 30s, and the record low of 29 was set July 2, 1962.


Luke cools down in The Lake.
A Band of Runner Brothers by Luke Will on 07/01/2012
I didn’t feel so great the other night. With six days until my first marathon of the season I ventured out for an eight-mile run, the first long run of the past few weeks.

Being majorly unprepared and under trained, it was a ditching effort to convince myself that I could handle 26.2 miles. 

It’s lame to begin tapering during the week leading up to race day when you haven’t been logging more than a half marathon in total each week.

So with some mental persuading to be done, I coasted the paved shoulder taking inventory from feet to head and feeling out my lung strength. 

And then with a mile left until home, my lower right calf hardened like a wood knot and the pain forced me to a walk. Not the encouragement I was looking for. But with some slight adjustment to how I put one foot in front of the other, I was able to gimp back to my deck and commence stretching. 

The remainder of my week was frustrating. Stressed by a long work month and upset at letting my body down, I approached the start line with more anxiety than I did for my first marathon two years ago.

 Telling everyone else that I just wanted to finish, I secretly held onto a stricter standard, knowing I’d be disappointed if I didn’t finish in under 4 hours and totally closing the door on the idea of not finishing at all – barring an injury.

The start line on Saturday morning was hot so I removed my shirt even before the gun went off. As I stood shoulder to shoulder with 5,000 other runners, I realized my upper arms were peeling and flaking all over, a result of my farmer wetsuit burn line after 2 weeks of kayak training. If only the time in my running shoes was equal to my time in a kayak over the last month. 

Nine miles into the race I was soaked. At the next water station, I chugged a cup of PowerAde and poured two cups of water over my head. The flow of runners hugged the left lane beside Lake Superior, staying tucked in whatever shade we could find while the sun was low. By the Half, clouds had overtaken and a slight tail wind escorted us on toward Duluth. 

I saw the usual bunch of familiar faces from town along the course.  The biggest help though was my brother, Zeb, who has been my loyal support crew for nearly every marathon I’ve run.  At 6-5 I can see him above the other spectators from a quarter mile away. Following my progress from start to finish, it’s his face and voice I continually look for mile after mile. His high-fives, his yelling, the extra GU’s he holds out, and the butt slaps that pushes me on at moments when I let the dread seep into my psyche.

The only marathon I haven’t seen him course-side was the first, when we ran it together. We had trained together too, lapping suburban lakes and bike paths on our long runs, and talking the whole way.  On race day, we ran side by side for the opening 16 miles, experiencing it all for the first time, together. At the finish line, pride enveloped me. I knew how hard it had been, for both of us, and I knew the determination it had taken for us to reach the end.  It was one of the closest moments I’ve felt with him.  
In between the times when I see him along courses now, it’s those moments from the first one that also carries me.

This year’s race was no different.  Though predetermined, I eased my pace and reached my goal in finishing Grandma’s in 3:50. I never felt my Achilles, nor any other aches for that matter. Once again, the crowd picked me up when I needed it, lining the streets in thickets from mile 20 until the finish. 

And as I strode down the home stretch past the bleachers. the tape, and pumping PA system, I wore a smile and listened for Zeb. My eyes were closed for much of the last straightaway – I didn’t need them. Those last 200 yards were mine, but not if it weren’t for the support of my brother.

Mad Dogz Hobby's Busy Aisle
Mad Hobbies and Open Grills by Geoff Berteau on 07/01/2012
Mad Dogz Hobby
A toy store for all ages, Mad Dogz Hobby in Sandy truly has it all.

And for owner Mike McKay, selling model cars, trucks, helicopters, rockets, trains, kites, skateboards, hobby kits, assembly tools, and frisbee-golf supplies is really just a hobby.

His passion is for model planes.

“I can get someone just about anything they need in here either already in stock or on order. This is all lots of fun, but for me, I’m an airplane guy,” McKay said.

In fact, McKay has been president of the Sky Knights R/C Flying Club for the last two years.

Mad Dogz Hobby carries a plethora of cars, trucks, and “rock crawlers” along with a full line of helicopters, a wide variety of planes, and a lot more.

McKay invites anyone to come visit Mad Dogz Hobby.

“We have great customer service and it’s all locally run,” he said.
“I think it’s a really good atmosphere that we have in here.”

The Portland Sky Knights meet frequently in Gresham and offer free lessons for those new to the skies.

Mad Dogz Hobby is located across from Walgreens in Sandy, right in front of Evolve Mixed Martial Arts.

They can be contacted at 503-630-7112.

They are the only hobby shop in the area.

The Inn Between
Steakhouse

Delicious breaking news to all Mountain dwellers: The Inn Between Steakhouse has made its long-awaited return (with a few changes).

The open grill has been rebuilt, the lot has been paved, and there’s a new menu available with various wines, burgers, soups and salads, pastas, varying specials, and of course, steaks.  

Manager Kim Sheffield is thrilled after The Inn’s successful soft opening.

“We have become family friendly again with a separate entrance into the dining area,” Sheffield said.

“We also have new desserts along with homemade brownies and homemade strawberry ice cream.”

The menu is built from scratch, but it’s Tuesday night that will bring the people in for The Inn’s cook-your-own steaks.

“I worked here in the 80s, and I have to say that last night (steak night) it felt like that again. People were laughing, joking around, and just having a good time,” Sheffield said.

“I think this building has a lot of history, and I’m happy to bring it back.”

The Inn Between Steakhouse plans to have its grand opening on the Fourth of July.
It is and always has been located along Hwy. 26, flanked by (or, in between) the Hoodland Shopping Center and El Burro Loco.
Gentlemen: Start Your Engines by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2012
It is not just the women who are fatigued. So are some of you guys out there.

Fatigue can lead to lethargy, depression and poor health outcomes. I’m not talking about you guys doing a lot of physical labor, as you have a reason to be fatigued at the end of the day. I’m talking to you couch potatoes who watch the races instead of participating in them.

In 1960 healthcare accounted for approximately 7 percent of expenses. Now healthcare accounts for more than double that amount, and most of that is spent in the last six months of life.

Yet many people have less income now and more time on their hands. Maybe time to tackle some of those health problems on the home front.

If you are currently out of work, it would be a great time to get out and dig a garden. Saves money, gives you healthier food, and boosts your mood.

If you are employed sitting at a computer all day at least get up once an hour to walk around. Raise your arms above the level of your heart while you walk around.

Who are the longest living men in our society? Orchestra and band conductors often live into their eighties and nineties. Their exercise involves moving their arms in the air while listening to music.

Sounds good to me.

It increases blood flow to the heart which reduces fatigue. If that won’t work for you, go to your favorite sports event and cheer like mad, or swim, or prune trees.

Whatever it takes.

Fatigue and muscle weakness are major side effects of statin drugs like Lipitor, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs used to lower cholesterol.

Yet half of all heart attacks occur in men with normal cholesterol levels.

Yes, half. That kind of invalidates the usefullness of Lipitor doesn’t it? Especially if it leads to fatigue and depression and lethargy.

Statistics show that it takes one hundred men being treated for three years with a statin drug to prevent even one heart attack. At a cost of $400,000. But in continuing to lower cholesterol levels have we forgotton that cholesterol itself is a precursor to all steroid hormones and vitamin D.

Lowering the hormone testosterone in men will also lead to fatigue. Lower vitamin D levels lead to depression. Fatigue and depression lead to a sedentary lifestyle.
It is a spiral – up or down?

Poor flexibility of arteries decreases blood vessel ability to move blood. This is true whether it is a blood vessel leading to the heart, or elsewhere. The lining of blood vessels is called the endothelial. It is now commonly accepted in the medical world that ED=ED. That means that endothelial dysfunction (ED) has a very strong correlation to erectile dysfunction (ED).

Maybe Viagra isn’t what’s needed to get you engines started, but better heart health.
Any cardioprotective effects of statin drugs are due at least as much to their anti-inflammatory actions. A C-Reactive Protein test will test for inflammation.

But what else is anti-inflammatory.

Exercise for one thing. A lifestyle that avoids toxins such as too much sugar, tobacco, trans fatty acids.

What you eat matters.

As recently as 50 years ago people ate organ meats regularly. Remember when liver and onions could still be found on the menus of fine restaurants? Turkey and chicken giblets were used in gravies and stuffings. Beef heart was sliced and served when available.

If searching out organ meats for your consumption, be sure to look for sources from pastured animals without added hormones.

Organ meats were protective to the heart because they contain large amounts of CoQ 10 – now virtually absent from the diet, CoQ10 is usually purchased as a pill. We want the simple fix. But while there are many cheap manufacturers of CoQ10, only a handful of these companies worldwide use high quality ingredients.

Poor quality CoQ10 is not going to fix the problem of statin drugs causing fatigue.
The heart is a specialized muscle in your body and it has high energy requirements.
A reliable way to increase your energy is to intake a whole food diet and exercise. This will lead to increased energy which leads to a desire to get up and do something.

Gentlemen, start your engines!
A Flair for Flowers Lifts a Troubled Woman by Sandra Palmer on 06/01/2012
I more fully understood Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s book “The Language of Flowers” when I realized that the author had real-life experience as a foster mother. I then realized that she had first-hand understanding of young people who were so damaged by early abandonment and difficult foster placements that they feared contact (even loving acceptance) and became hardened to the point that they would sabotage relationships rather than open themselves to vulnerability and to the love they truly crave.

In the “Language of Flowers” we meet Victoria, who was abandoned by her mother at birth and has lived in 32 different foster homes before the age of 18. Her only real opportunity for adoption was by a woman named Elizabeth with whom she lived for a year at the age of 9, anticipating adoption before tragedy prevented it.

We initially meet Victoria much later in her young life, emotionally injured by a long string of unfortunate placements and about to graduate into a last-ditch group home before the system officially is no longer responsible for her care. Headstrong and destructive, Victoria chooses life on the streets above any further contact with the social service system or her long-suffering case worker.

Eventually, hunger and a realization that she must find some type of employment lead Victoria to approach a florist who is impressed with her unexpected flair for flowers and flower arrangements – skills she learned years ago from Elizabeth. Soon Victoria earns herself a position at Blooms floral shop where she surprises the owner’s clientele with her gift for choosing flowers based upon their traditional meanings – and she is often credited with an almost magical insight in matching the flower arrangement with a situation’s emotional components.

Victoria’s frequent visits to the flower market with florist Renata bring her into contact with Grant, a young man who shares her passion for the meanings best conveyed by flowers. Over time Grant gently and persistently seeks to break down the barriers to personal contact that Victoria has constructed over so many, many years with shocking (and almost tragic) consequences. Finally, Victoria shares the secrets that she has held close for so long and the reasons for her estrangement from Elizabeth who she had allowed herself to love so deeply. We finally learn how Victoria’s fears caused her to push away the person who truly loved and accepted her, destroying the security and love that she had long sought.

Fortunately, permanent disaster is averted but not without great cost and complication – and shocking choices made by Victoria. But the language of flowers is, of course, part of the author’s resolution. Diffenbaugh has created a captivatingly unexpected story and an engrossing, compelling read.

Author Vanessa Diffenbaugh found inspiration for “The Language of Flowers” in her own experiences as a foster mother. She studied creative writing and education at Stanford and taught art and writing to low-income youth. She and her husband have three children and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is her first novel.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 06/01/2012
Welcome to our little garden spot shining in the summer sun beneath our big majestic mountain. 

Here we are already half way through the year of 2012. Time moves so quickly we must enjoy every minute of our beloved summer, the warmer days and the long evenings, and plant to our hearts content.
 
We must also take time to marvel at the big black and white tiger swallowtail butterflies that float with the breeze. Some come to rest on the heads of old fashioned sweet William, a butterfly favorite. Others investigate the blossoms of digitalis (foxglove), another butterfly favorite.

As the daffodil foliage looks droopy and forlorn, it’s time to conceal it with some summer blooming annuals or perennials. Do not cut the foliage, as it provides food for the bulbs so you will have blooms in the spring.  If you want you can tie the blades in knots and tuck them in beneath the leaves of your new plants and leave them be.  
Also if you have any spring flowering shrub you need to prune, do it now after it is through blooming because it will begin setting bud for next year soon. 

Remember to be selective about any rhododendrons you might want to prune back.  Maybe just prune the top and leave the sides alone, otherwise you will have no blooms for next year. 

When purchasing a rhododendron, the best thing to do is to make sure it will be the proper size for the spot you have planned for it. It pays to look at the tag. While the little guy may be small now, the tag will indicate how big it will actually be. So don’t place a rhodie that’s going to be 5 feet tall in front of that window.

After the majority of our spring flowering shrubs have ceased blooming, the mock orange (philadelphus lewisii) puts on a display of fragrant white blossoms. They are native to the western states including Oregon, Washington and Idaho and are, in fact, the state flower of Idaho. Even though they only bloom for a short period of time, they are well worth the investment.  They grow quite tall and erect, with some arching branches and are somewhat drought tolerant.

With the nesting season now in full gear, we can hear birds sing from sunup to sundown. One such bird, the black-hooded grosbeak, can be heard singing all day long.  Usually with birds, only the male sings. With this species, the female sings as well.  Their voices sound similar to a robin, but more slurred and less choppy than a robin. Both male and female incubate their eggs and sing from the nest. After the young have left the nest, both parents sing all the more in the presence of each other and their fledglings, as if to keep the family together, until late summer when the singing fades. These birds do frequent bird feeders and prefer black sun flower seeds. They also like suet.
Until next time, may you find peace and joy in simply gardening.

June: Cooler But Not So Much Wet Stuff by Herb Miller on 06/01/2012
Repeating a pattern set by previous months, the first week of May was wet and cold. Brightwood had rain daily, amounting to a total of 3.14 inches, and Government Camp had snow daily, adding up to a total of 9.6 inches.

A 14-day dry period followed in which Brightwood recorded a high temperature of 89 during a 3-day period of summer-like weather, and Government recorded a high of 81. The dry period ended on the 20th and weather more typical for the end of May returned.

The National Weather Service expects most of the area west of the Cascades to be cooler than average for June, observing a cooling influence based on the cold coastal waters. Precipitation amounts are again expected to be lower than average.

During June, Brightwood has an average high of 68, an average low of 48 and a precipitation average of 4.20 inches. During the last 10 years, only one year failed to have a high temperature get about the 70s. Five years had highs in the 80s, two years had highs reach the 90s, and the record high for June of 100 degrees was recorded on both June 26, 2006 and June 28, 2008. Low temperature readings in the 40s occured during six years and in the 30s during the other four years. The record low of 35 was set June 11, 1981, but was threatened with a reading of 36 on June 15, 2008.

In Government Camp the average high during June is 59, the average low is 41, with an average precipitation amount of 3.88 inches – including an average of 0.6 inches of snow. During the past nine years only the year 2010 failed to have a high temperature reach above the 60s. Four years reaches the 70s and the other four years had highs reaching the 80s. The record high of 92 was set June 17, 1961, but closely on its heels was the high of 89 set six years ago on May 27, 2006. Four of the past nine years had lows reach the freezing mark, with the year 2010 getting the prize with a low of 32 set during four consecutive days on the 14th through the 17th. The record low of 23 was set way back on June 3, 1963, but a reading of 29 was recorded twice during 2008 on the 10th and 11th. Most snowfall was 6 inches, measured on June 5, 1995 followed the next day with another 5 inches. The most recent snowfall was the 2 inches that fell on June 10, 2008.
Belts, Health and Breakfast by Geoff Berteau on 06/01/2012
U.S. West Coast
Taekwondo - Sandy
Since August 2010, Instructor Jon Barker has been teaching respect, focus, family values, self-confidence, discipline and effective fitness – from kids to adults.
He’s also been teaching them Taekwondo.

After returning from salute-worthy time in Kuwait in the Army National Guard, Barker has taught Taekwondo for 13 years at U.S. West Coast Taekwondo of Sandy.

“All the core values we teach here translate to the modern world,” Barker said. “There’s a big focus on the outside life; it’s not just to kick and punch. We are giving people the tools to be successful in life – not just in martial arts.”

Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art that focuses on the legs, with emphasis on agility and kicking.

“I’d say I lean more toward the traditional styles of teaching,” said Barker, grinning, “but I’m always learning.”

Earning belts at U.S. West Coast Taekwondo of Sandy requires that students progress in many areas. Academic performance, behavior at home, and self-presentation are among the aspects that are tested outside of the dojang.

Young Zack Miller and Michael Page, aged 10 and 11, began attending together more than a year ago.

“You get to meet lots of people, go to tournaments and win medals,” said Page, as he shot an ambitious look at a poster for the Junior Pan Ams, scheduled later this month in Portland. “I’m going to do forms, sparring and board breaking.”

U.S. West Coast Taekwondo of Sandy is open Monday through Friday and can be contacted at (503) 964 - 0222, or at www.SandyTKD.com.

Mt. Hood Nutrition
If you’re looking to chocolate, vanilla (or perhaps strawberry) shake off a few pounds, then Linda and Richard Bouchard at Mt. Hood Nutrition – next to the Chamber of Commerce in Sandy – would like to say cheers to better health.

“We can help anyone with their nutritional needs,” Richard Bouchard said. “We can specialize in just about anything: sports nutrition, weight loss, heart health, men’s, women’s and kid’s-specific consulting.”

Representing Herbalife, a growing type of nutrition club that promotes daily health and challenges its participants to bolster healthier lifestyles, the Bouchards are excited to have found a place to bring their nutritional knowledge to the public.

“We are fueled and approved by Herbalife, but at the core we are Mt. Hood Nutrition,” Linda Bouchard said. “Nutrition can make a big difference in anyone’s life, and we don’t offer anything we don’t believe in.”

As proof, Richard is a walking success story through this nutritional philosophy as well: “I’ve lost 40 pounds (on Herbalife) and drastically lowered my blood pressure.”

Linda and Richard urge anyone and everyone to check out Mt. Hood Nutrition for their grand opening on the weekend of June 1 where there will be a raffle for free shakes. And as of now, any shake purchase comes free with some green tea and an aloe juice.  

Wy’east Cafe & Bakery
If you’re loafing about throughout the day, maybe you knead a better breakfast. Luckily, Wy’east Cafe & Bakery has risen on the Mountain – located at the entrance to the RV Village.

David Ball, owner of Wy’east Cafe & Bakery, has been cooking professionally for 25 years and is a recent graduate from the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Portland. He believes in using fresh, local, and seasonal products whenever possible. 

Working with Ball on the menu, concept, and recipes is Susan Hayes, who started baking 39 years ago in Miami as a bagel maker.

“The menu was developed to take advantage of the wonderful local products we have in the Pacific Northwest,” Hayes said. “And the menu will change to reflect the seasonal changes. Everything is baked or cooked from scratch. David makes fresh breakfast sausage and grinds the beef for the hamburgers.”

The Wy’east Cafe & Bakery specializes in breakfast items, though lunch is on the menu. They will be officially open June 1, and their hours will be 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


A Night Full of Moon -- and Something Else by Luke Will on 06/01/2012
Late last night when I should have been reading by bed light I slipped out onto my deck to witness an orange bulb hanging over Lake Superior. 

Much like the Lake, it was huge and impressive and lit like a jack-o-lantern on a dark October night.  Miles out from shore, its carved out face ricocheted off the liquid surface providing the only indication of the Lake’s nocturnal mood. 

What a night!

As I stood nearly nude admiring the glow I heard from the driveway a sudden scattering of gravel as the pooch, who had crept out behind me, darted off into the darkness.  
There was the sound of her scurrying feet until in the distance the sudden hush of four legs going motionless. 

A couple of low grumbles carried down from the road, the same tone she releases when she mistakes a dark boulder on a trail for a looming mammal. And then, just as quickly as she was gone, she was back at my side with her hackles flared, looking surprised.  
A close call.

We’re starting to see more than just signs of wildlife around our cabin. Instead of only scat and branch-tip scents, fox and coyotes regularly agitate Tischer through the window in the midst of my slumber. Ducks and spring peepers are idling in roadside ditches during my runs and black bears are ambling across yards of my coworkers. 
 
So this recent foray was likely with a wild animal from the neighborhood passing through our untamed fragment of the shore.

Lucky for Tischer, and I, her agility and speed aren’t up to par with something that depends on it for survival.  And so whatever it was was now further along on its way and my domestic dog could look forward to dreams of the chase from this little taste.

I delight in listening to her little yips and watching her twitching feet while she pursues the red squirrels and rabbits of her sleep world.  She is rarely wily enough to catch them in reality but I wonder about her success rate behind those closed eyes?

Turning back toward my cabin and bed, the low glow from inside held my attention.  Such a cozy and welcoming home, for me and the dog, it suits us perfectly. Tame on the inside, wild on the outside.

I gave the moon a nod and followed the lamplight coming from over my pillow. Tischer and I returned to bed and the book I’d left open, she to her perch at the window and me between the fleece sheets. 

The nights still carry a chill here in the north, the kind that makes for good sleeping.
And if fueled with the necessary inspiration, good dreaming too.
What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger by Victoria Larson on 05/02/2012
Perhaps it was a lesson in comeuppance. I had bragged to my book club about how I had not been sick in 10 years. No colds, no flu, no allergies, arthritis, digestive problems, or headaches. No sickness.

In those years there had been a couple of mechanical problems like a broken ankle (on the ice) and benign positional vertigo (from attempting a headstand in yoga) but absolutely nothing else.

They say that living well is the best revenge, and I’m certainly a believer in that.
The biggest “season” for illnesses is from October through May. Note that in our area those are the coolest and darkest months for us. This year the wettest too.

But weather doesn’t make you sick. Going without a coat or an umbrella is not what makes you get sick. In fact, indigenous people who go barefoot tend to maintain better health. But getting chilled can lower your immune system, allowing illness to take hold.
These months are also the time of year when we ingest more sugar, carbohydrates, and generally not as much fresh food.

I am human like the rest of you and succumbed to “treats” for my numerous and wonderful grandchildren – thereby foregoing my usually diligent attention to diet, Though I continued my exercise routine and got plenty of rest, when the littlest one got the flu, egads, I was right behind him.

Of course, the flu was the last thing I was sick with 10 years ago! Back dues? Maybe. But I certainly got rid of all the bad food I’d been eating. And quickly. For days I could not hold down food. Nor water. Too sick to even get up and treat myself (for I have remedies in my house just like you do) I laid in bed and analyzed what was happening.
When the fluids leave you your electrolyte balance gets out of whack. But I couldn’t hold anything down, not even watered down juice. So the leg cramps I hadn’t experienced in 10 years came back. Electrolyte imbalance can cause the heart to have rhythm fluctuations due to the thicker blood. I could not keep water down, and that caused headaches. Combined with the fever, I was miserable.

The pandemic flu of 1918 caught the world off guard. It is estimated that between 35 and 50 million people died of the Spanish flu worldwide. It is the dehydration that kills people. I kept taking Epsom salt baths to stay hydrated through the skin since I could not hold anything down. I took homeopathics until I ran out and gave most of them to my grandson. I ran out of castor oil early on. I had plenty of food, but food had no appeal under the circumstances.

The loss of all those people to the flu of 1918 was a tragedy. They were being treated with the newly touted (and profitable) pharmaceuticals. Naturopathic doctors lost less than 1 percent of the cases they treated with non-pharmaceutical treatments like homeopathy, castor oil, and the advice to ingest nothing at all except fresh fruit juices (that’s “fresh” not canned, frozen, or even packaged in plastic!)

In Medieval times, healing was mostly done by families, at home. There’s a comfort zone there. Herbs were used and when spent were left on the window sill to dry before going back into the earth as compost. All the neighbors could tell from the herbs what the resident was being treated for and could offer solace, herbs, or help with care. We were a communtiy then, not distanced by lack of eye-to-eye contact.

I was sick for days but what finally healed me was the concern of my daughter and son-in-law. A good neighbor asked if he could bring anything over. My best book club friend offered to drive from Estacada and leave food on my doorstep. And a very special friend made me laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine. It was then that I got better. No one wishes illness on anyone. But there are lessons to be learned in all things.

Have I learned mine?

You bet.

Have you?
Illumination on the Pacific Crest Trail by Sandra Palmer on 05/02/2012
I normally don’t choose to review books that have received as much publicity as Cheryl Strayed’s newly released “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” I generally use this column to point readers toward a book they may not be aware of. But “rules are made to be broken” as they say and I just feel compelled to tell you about this book.

“Wild” is so much more than a book about hiking and so much more than a book about traversing the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl Strayed is brutally honest in her portrayal of her journey but also about her life and the decisions that led her to hike the PCT alone.

After her mother’s death from cancer and in the wake of a divorce, Cheryl was groping for fresh direction in her life and decided that setting a goal to hike the PCT would be healing as she worked to set direction for her life going forward.

Although she had never backpacked before, she loaded supplies into her “monster” pack, filling it with so many necessities that she can hardly lift the pack. But she perseveres and – with a few side trip adventures along the way – makes her way through the 1100-mile-long journey from Southern California to the Columbia River in Oregon.

While there are plenty of descriptions of walking the trail and the physical effort and adventure that it entails, the story has many other side trips into Cheryl’s life and past. She is frank about her many infidelities that led to the divorce and her dangerous flirtation with heroin with a boyfriend in Portland. She relives again the horrific cancer battle her mother faced and her emotions of deep loss and anger in its wake.

She remembers her family life and the stepfather who tried to keep the family together for a time after her mother’s loss but ultimately left to go his own way. And we can easily see her own strengths and flaws exhibited in the decisions Cheryl makes along the trail.
In Oregon, there are stops in Ashland just after Jerry Garcia’s death where Cheryl takes a planned weekend off from hiking. She takes part in the local Deadhead celebrations and finally finds a sexual encounter as a diversion from the brutal physical realities of the journey. (She persists in carrying a condom in her enormous pack – always open to the possibilities.) She rests at a peaceful stop at Shelter Cove Resort. She hikes to the brink of Crater Lake. She hikes through the Three Sisters Wilderness but has a scary encounter with some lusty hunters near Mount Jefferson. She enjoys a visit to Olallie Lake along with a group of fellow hikers. She stops at Timberline Lodge in the home stretch.

Most of all, Cheryl makes peace with her feelings of anger about her mother’s death and sorts out her emotions in the wake of her divorce – all while facing an enormous personal challenge. Her frank account can’t help but move you.

Raised in Minnesota, Strayed now lives in Portland with her husband, filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, and their two children.

Cheryl will appear at Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 26, to read from and discuss “Wild.”

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 05/02/2012
Welcome to our bright little garden corner nestled beneath our beautiful white mountain still blanketed in a thick layer of spring snow. Here we are, already in the month of May.  
The air is permeated with the fragrance of blossoms and the songs of our feathered friends that have returned from their wintering grounds. The kinglets and varied thrush have left to nest in the mountains, so their voices are no longer heard.  Instead, we can hear the familiar flute-like spiraling calls of the Swainson’s thrush that can be heard from daybreak into the dusk of the evening, often the last bird call you will hear for the day. These songsters –  who are relatives of the famed European nightingale – only sing from mid-May through mid-July, during their nesting season. Then, in silence, they hang around until October when they migrate by night south to Argentina. 

What a sorry world this would be without our birds to cheer us with their songs and eat the nasty bugs in our gardens. These wonderful songbirds, such as the thrush or robin, love fresh ripe strawberries so you might want to lay protective netting over your strawberry plants when they start to produce fruit. 

Another important critter to attract to your garden is the honey bee. We need pollinators such as the honey bee to pollinate the flowers of our berries, cherries, apples and other edible plants and trees. We will be learning more about honey bees at our annual garden party on June 3rd. Watch for the ad in this publication and plan to attend. 

Mother’s Day is coming up soon and with that thought come the visions of hanging baskets of fuchsias, bacopa, pansies, and calibrachoa (million bells); perfect gifts for that special lady in your life. A word of caution while shopping for that special plant: if you want the plant to last as a cherished gift, buy it from a reliable source. Don’t purchase a basket from a location that doesn’t have an area that specializes in plants. Keep in mind the “cheap” baskets won’t last. They have been crammed with so many plants, some of which are not compatible with each other, that you have a basket that is basically fighting for life and ends up in the compost pile shortly after it’s received. 
Now is the time to plant dahlia tubers for late summer color. Keep in mind deer don’t like dahlias and they will tolerate partial shade. Just make sure your dahlia bed is composted with well rotted manure or steer manure to give your plants a good boost. Tomato cages are great for supporting dahlias. The foliage will eventually cover the cage and if you place the cage over the spot as you plant the tuber, you won’t have to worry about attempting to place it over the plant when the foliage is present. 

By the end of the month it should also be pretty safe to put out your tomato plants. A good safe method to plant tomatoes is to place them in containers, that way they are not picking up some disease from the ground and you can move them to the sunniest locations in your yard. 

Until next time, may you find joy and peace in simply gardening. We look forward to seeing you at the garden party, Sunday June 3rd! 

The Nice Bright Colors of Montana by Luke Will on 05/02/2012
I just spent the last two hours writing an abbreviated “Luke’s Guide To Montana” for my soon to be honeymooning, road-tripping brother. When I got to the Missoula section, I literally just closed my eyes and let the words unravel. My fingers flew on the keyboard, effortless and without much direction. 

In my head, I was just rambling through what a typical day in that valley might look like, just as though I woke up in my bed here in Minnesota and went about my day. Except in Missoula, the only time I actually had a bed was for half of one summer when I was renting a studio apartment north of the railroad tracks. I had gotten a hand-me-down twin mattress that occupied the corner floor delightfully, considering the alternative was the ribbed bed of my truck. 

On the only two window ledges in that place I had youthful vegetables growing, bright sunflowers, green peppers and an infant tomato plant. When I would wake up in Missoula, I’d yearn for the light of day and whip open the heavy cotton curtains. My view was across the small parking lot at my neighbor’s clothes line with Mount Sentinel looming behind.

I rarely ate breakfast at the studio, though I always packed a lunch that fit into my shoulder bag. My commute to work was on my mountain bike. Heading toward the tracks, I had to ride up three-square loops of the pedestrian bridge, over and down the other side, and through a residential neighborhood until the Clark Fork River cut me off. Just the other side of that was McCormick Park where my office at the Parks and Recreation Department was, just 10 minutes from my kitchen.

My office window looked out over the green, shaded park nestled between the river, a skate park, and two softball fields. Through that green area, a gravel trail cut along the water and I could hop on it and get to downtown for meetings or campus visits or lunch dates or workouts. Depending on the evening, I’d ride it to meet up for a game of bike polo or ultimate Frisbee, and afterward a beer, slice of pizza, and usually some local music to dance to or a cozy porch and couch to roost on.

Granted these sometime mundane details aren’t what made up the guide for my brother, but it’s those details that helped provide my existence in that wonderful town. And that led to the other fun and adventurous details of things to do in and around Missoula that I did suggest to him. I hold memories of both dearly.

My ride home at the end of each day was often done with a smile. I was in a community of like-minded people with similar ambitions. We had the same idea of what a good time was, what good music was, and we were in a place to enjoy those very things. More importantly, it wasn’t just in my head that the avenue to happiness was very simply in surrounding myself with the people and livelihood that does indeed make me happy, it was also in everybody else’s around me.

After the typing had ended, I reread what I had written in the guide for my brother. A direct line:

“Bust the bikes out and ride the Clark Fork Riverfront trail, either side, through the heart of this blessed town and feel my energy and soul moving along the trail with you.
(I’m positive it’s still there, and maybe always will be?).”
Drier Than Average Summer On The Way by Herb Miller on 05/02/2012
Most Hoodland residents remember last March as being particularly cold and wet. That memory is confirmed by a new record snowfall in Brightwood of 18 inches, shattering the previous record of 11.5 inches in 2006. Also, the 19.17 inches of precipitation makes it the second wettest March in more than 40 years, exceeded only by the 21.59 inches in 2006.

April also got off to a cold start with Government Camp receiving a total of 15 inches of snow during the first two days. Brightwood measured a half inch of snow on the 6th but no doubt heavier amounts fell on other Hoodland locations a little further east.

After that, temperatures moderated considerably, and by the 21st we enjoyed a few days of summer like weather. The last week returned to weather more typical for this time of year although precipitation in Brightwood for the month was below average for the first time in several months.

The La Nina pattern has virtually ended, but our area will still be a bit cooler than average due to the cool ocean waters bordering the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Weather Service. The outlook for our area is for temperatures to be lower than average, and also precipitation to be lower than average. In fact, the extended outlook for the entire summer is forecast to be drier than average.

During May, Brightwood has an average high of 63, low of 43, and 5.86 inches of precipitation. Over the last 10 years, highs reached into the 90s three years, into the 80s four years, and into the 70s three years. The record high of 99 was set May 6, 1987. Over the past 10 years, lows have dropped to the freezing level five years, with the latest freezing temperature being 31 on the 20th. The record low of 29 was set May 2, 2006.

During May, Government Camp has an average high of 53, low of 35, and a precipitation average of 5.24 inches, including 6.6 inches of snow. During the last nine years, two had highs in the 80s, four years reached the 70s, and two years reached the 60s, and last year the high couldn’t get above the 50s. The record high of 93 was set May 31, 1986. Low temperatures routinely drop into the 20s, the record low being 18 set way back on May 1, 1954. Significant snowfall in May is relatively rare, the exceptions being the recent 7 inches in 2009, and the 12.7 inches in 2010.

Chris Calabrese instructs eager students.
The Business End by Geoff Berteau on 05/02/2012
Throw Me a Bone
Dog Grooming
and Pet Services
Is Fido looking a little drab? Has Shaggy begun living up to his name?
New-to-the-Mountain, Throw Me a Bone Dog Grooming and Pet Services, can get Spot ready for the runway.

Owner and operator Lori Fosses is offering Mountain mutts (and their meticulous masters) more than you can shake a stick at.

“I give the dogs individual attention,” Fosses said. “And while they wait, they can relax in the doggy den.”

In addition to grooming, Fosses offers various pet and home services, including: walking and/or ‘loving’ your pet, changing a litter box, feeding and watering, retrieving newspapers and mail, watering plants, and taking out the garbage.

And they are in good hands. Fosses is professionally licensed.

“I’ve studied dog anatomy, doggy C.P.R., and all about different breeds and each breed’s appropriate haircut. I take my time with each dog,” she said.

Fosses offers senior discounts, pick-up and delivery to Welches, Rhododendron, Brightwood, and Zigzag, as well as a half-off offer for your first grooming with any adopted or rescued pet.

Throw Me a Bone Dog Grooming and Pet Services can be contacted at 503-320-0374, or throwbone@hotmail.com, or check out the website www.throwbonedoggroom.com.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts & Family Activity Center
Offering more than 1,000 square feet of open mat in a state-of-the-art facility, new to Sandy is a mixed martial arts school.

Chris Calabrese, co-owner with Mary Demyan, is chief instructor at Evolve Martial Arts & Family Activity Center in Sandy.

“Anybody’s going to benefit from martial arts training,” Calabrese said. “Discipline, accountability, follow-through, self-awareness, fitness, and discipline are just some of the benefits that come from training in martial arts.”

Classes are offered for all ages in a safe environment.

“I offer good functional fitness that promotes flexibility and mobility with safety in mind. From 5 to 75, any age can train safely,” he said.

And Calabrese has certainly been around the block. He holds a 3rd degree black belt in U.S. freestyle “kosho” karate under instructor Marc Burnham, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Brian Espinoza with a boast-worthy fighting record of 4-2-1.
Garrett Cartner has been attending since the beginning of March.

Cartner said he’s excited to be training again, “To learn an art and use my brain and my body,” Cartner said. “The positive elements in my life always grow when I’m training in martial arts.”

Cartner has trained in western boxing in Mexico, as well as classic wrestling in high school and wushu. But students of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to attend.

“I see a necessity for all ages to utilize martial arts – to help kids off the street – to harness that energy they have and let them release it in a safe and controlled environment. We’re not just teaching fighting,” Calabrese said.

Edward “Eddie” Hernandez is loving the experience at Evolve with only high school wrestling on his martial arts resume.

“Everything I thought I knew, I’m realizing I really didn’t,” Hernandez said. “I’ve started discovering little details about everything I thought I knew, and it’s fun to learn.”

Evolve is located at 38250 Pioneer Blvd., next to the hobby shop. And if you stop by Friday evening, May 4, you can get 10 percent off apparel, fight gear and membership.

They can be contacted at 503-713-3058.

Lori Ryland’s
Art Studio and Gallery
Artists, aspiring and established, unite!

Nationally recognized artist Lori Ryland has opened an art studio in Sandy for locals to get their brushes (and quills) wet.

Offering classes, monthly artist salons and more, Ryland says she has something for anyone. “I can teach anybody how to paint,” Ryland said.

Classes are available for kids and adults, and the salons will be an opportunity for local artists of any kind to gather together and share ideas in an imagination melting-pot.
“A kind of creativity discussion,” explained Ryland.

Originally procured as a quiet place to work, Ryland has transformed her workspace into a gallery and studio with open doors to the community. “I like to be around people; I’m a very social person. The artist salons are my way of reaching out,” she said.

Ryland blends traditional methods with contemporary technology to create unique displays of art, stressing that “real” art can come from computers as well as brushes.
Artist salons are held every first Sunday of the month. Classes are mainly on Monday evenings, from 6 to 9 p.m. Ryland’s studio can be found at 39110 Proctor Blvd., in Sandy. Her website is loriryland.com. 
Simply Gardening by Regina Ballou & Rochelle Simonds on 04/01/2012
Welcome to our little soggy spring garden nestled beneath the flanks of our snowy white mountain. We watch with wonder and joy as the promise of resurrection brings life to our sleeping perennials and the woodland flowers. 

What a splendid time to take a stroll through the forest and view the wild flowers that are in bloom now, such as the white flowering trillium. As the name implies, “trillium” is derived from the Latin word for “three.” The trillium is easy to identify with three leaves, three sepals and three flowering petals.
Our native trillium ovatum (Pacific trillium) range from British Columbia, to central California, to the northern Rocky Mountains and Oregon, of course. In other parts of the U.S. some species of trilliums display maroon flowers, some with hanging flowers and others with a very foul odor or “stink.” All trilliums give off a foul odor that attracts flies which in turn help in pollination. Trilliums can be transplanted quite successfully, but if you see a clump you would like to transplant, wait until long after blooming then dig deep enough to uproot the bulbs.  The trillium is from the lily family, so it does propagate by means of bulblets. When transplanting make sure you don’t replant the clump in dense shade. They like some sun. Notice how they grow naturally, usually along the edge of some trees where they do receive some light. That goes for any wild flowers you are attempting to transplant. Look to see how they grow in their native surroundings and put them in a similar environment.

Now is a great time to plant berries. You can plant berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Gladiolas can also be planted now and if you have enough you can plant at 2-3 week intervals so you have a staggered blooming period. In other words, they won’t all bloom at the same time.

Don’t forget to prune the sword fern that you have growing in your yard. Last year’s fronds can be cut back to the crown before the new little fiddleheads appear. This makes for a much nicer looking fern display by keeping them pruned.
 
Speaking of pruning, have you cut back your butterfly bush? It’s not too late to prune them about 6 inches or so from the ground.

Also, it’s time to get those hummingbird feeders out. The Anna’s and the Rufous will be out seeking nectar on these cool mornings. The Anna’s hummingbirds have the red-violet throat and are the first hummingbird to arrive in spring after their winter in the valley of western Oregon.  They are the only hummingbird that utters a true song.
Until next time, have a wonderful spring and may you find peace and joy in simply gardening.
Don't Be Fooled by Over-the-Counter Vitamins by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2012
As a people, we do not tend to eat enough fresh foods, quality proteins, or whole grains. The quality of our soil is declining so rapidly that most produce is selenium deficient to begin with. Foods, and things that we call foods, have been stripped of nutrients due to shipping, processing, refining, and numerous other onslaughts.
It’s hard to find something decent to eat!

Most of my patients take a multivitamin as a result of their awareness of the decreased nutrient quality of their foods. Some just because of their food choices. All in hopes of maintaining health. Kind of a “vitamin insurance plan.”

That’s all well and good except for the fact that most vitamins sold over-the-counter are of a lesser quality than those purchased from a doctor.

Recent studies have shown that almost all over-the-counter vitamins are not only synthetically sourced, but are also out-sourced! Meaning the raw ingredients are coming from other countries. Countries that are still using those pesticides that we’ve outlawed in the United States. To say nothing of the fact that the quality of the soil in some of these countries is no better than ours.

After all, we’ve been farming the earth for an awfully long time.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have pretty much given up trying to talk patients, friends and family for that matter, out of their OTC vitamins. It is all about cost these days. All of it. And paying a couple of dollars more for a high quality vitamin is just not what most people are willing to do. They may need that money for the next bag of chips or soda they buy. Priorities, people, priorities. You make your own choices with those dollars.
I generally recommend food based vitamins, from a company that’s been growing its own raw materials, organically, since 1919, long before “organic” was even considered a choice. While most synthetically sourced vitamins have 30-35 ingredients, the food based vitamin I prescribe has fewer ingredients. Only 15 ingredients are combined to manufacture this particular brand. But we know where the food is coming from that makes up each part of that vitamin.

Let’s take the carrot portion of that vitamin. About two thousand pounds of raw carrots are harvested, crushed, and sent into a vat where they are pulverized down to a mushy liquid that is then slowly dehydrated, to maintain the enzymes and nutrients. That portion of the vitamin contains the following: alanine, alpha-amyrin, -bergamotene, -carotene, -caryophyllene, -ketoglutaric acid, - phellandrene, -pinene (an anti-cancer nutrient), -terpenol, and -tocopherol.

And that’s just the “alphas.” There’s also arginine (an amino acid that’s good for the heart), ascorbic acid, seven “betas” including betacarotene and beta-sitosterol.

Then there’s betaine (good for digestion), boron, and butyric acid (prevents colon cancer). I’m sure you’ve heard of the need for cadmium, calcium, choline, and chromium (all in there), as well as cobalt, copper, coumarin (have you heard of this one?). This portion (remember it’s only 1/15 of this vitamin) also has fiber, folate (very deficient in the American diet), fructose (that’s what makes the carrot taste so good), glutamine (for healing the lining of the gut), iron (in nature’s amounts), lecithin (to prevent cholesterol plaques), limonene (anti-cancer), linoleic and linolenic acids, lutein (anti-cancer), lycopene (same), and lysine (helps prevent herpes outbreaks).

Before I exhaust you, and myself, I’ll skip over some of the ingredients and just hit the highlights of the nutrients you never even knew were in a carrot. There’s magnesium, malic acid, manganese, methionine, molybdenum, niacin, pectin, phosphorus, potassium, protein (in a carrot!), riboflavin, selenium (naturally occurring this time), thiamin, valine zinc, and vitamins A. C, B6, E, and K.

Before I lose you to this list, I will tell you that the carrot portion of this vitamin alone contains almost one thousand nutrients. It probably contains more that we’ve yet to discover. The vitamin also contains wheat germ for the E and B vitamin complexes, nutritional yeast (for even more B complexes), pea vines and alfalfa (for the vitamin A complexes), mushrooms (anti-cancer and containing the C complexes), oat flour (for the B complexes), lecithin (prevent cholesterol build-up in arteries remember), rice bran (more B complexes), and magnesium citrate (a highly absorbable form.

And all I’ve talked about is the carrot portion of this doctor-prescribed vitamin. Can your over-the-counter vitamin compare with that? This company truly cares, from seed to supplement, that you get the proper nutrition.

Now truly I would love to have you all get your nutrients from high quality foods, but I know that you are not. Studies have shown that eating just four carrots a day cuts your risk of cancer in half. But are any of you eating four carrots a day? Every day?
Don’t be fooled by advertising or cost. Get the best and stay the healthiest.

You can do that!
Welches Writer Offers Complex Police Story by Sandra Palmer on 04/01/2012
“When Police and Politics Collide” is the second of a two-book series and follows “The Investigation of Pepe Chavez, et al” by local author Ray Tercek.

During his time with the Portland Police Bureau, Ray found himself in the center of a massive drug trafficking investigation that led to political conflicts within the Police Bureau itself and eventually with top Portland officials – Mayor Bud Clark and, specifically, Portland Chief of Police Penny Harrington whose husband Gary Harrington was suspected of tipping off a target of the cocaine trafficking probe.

   Tercek’s first book traces the details of a complex drug investigation up to the successful arrests of many of the principal targets.

“When Police and Politics Collide” continues the story of the next phase of the intricate task force work targeting additional members of the criminal drug distribution network and attempting to apprehend Pepe Chavez, the head of the illegal enterprise who had escaped capture so far.

   Significant progress is stalled by numerous political and bureaucratic hurdles. In particular, a well-known Portland restaurant owner, Bobby Lee, becomes a focus for interrogation but he reveals to task force members that he had been forewarned by police officer Gary Harrington.

Did Police Chief Penny Harrington who had access to the task force progress, share some of that closely held information with her husband so that he could warn their friend Bobby Lee?

Soon multiple investigative panels are busy interviewing participants in the scandal and “spinning” the tale for the news media. Political challenges within the police bureau are soon overshadowed by those involving the Portland mayor and the chief of police.

Throughout it all, Tercek maintains his determined focus on the investigation’s goals as well as his personal integrity and commitment to service.

While this isn’t a fast read due to the tremendous amount of factual detail Ray has included to document events, readers will appreciate his insider insight into the saga.

Penny Harrington was the first female police chief appointed to head the police force of a major city and the investigation at the center of this book’s narrative offers unique insight into her rise and eventual fall from grace.

Many other significant Portland political players are also profiled in the book – among them eventual Police Chief and Mayor Tom Potter and former Mayor Bud Clark who appointed Penny Harrington as police chief.

Followers of Portland history will find this book’s revelations indispensible.

   If you have read Ray’s first book “The Investigation of Pepe Chavez, et al,” I would encourage you not to miss the “rest of the story” in “When Police and Politics Collide.” The writing is stronger and the story’s narrative thread is even more compelling.

   Author Ray Tercek is a retired cop, with more than 31 years in service. He served 26 years in the Portland Police Bureau. During his drug enforcement years, he was commissioned as a Special Deputy United States Marshal. With the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, he supervised the first Northwest Presidential Drug Task Force. In later years, he left the Portland Police Bureau and served five years with the Gresham Police Department.

Ray lives in Welches with his family.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
The Will Brothers Ride Again by Luke Will on 04/01/2012
I saw the smile on his face, looking over my right shoulder across the paved path. Biking into a stiff spring wind off of Lake Superior, I smiled too. 

We were the only three riders on the blustery path etched into the rocks high above the water.  Coasting down the long winding hills and pedaling up the smooth inclines, our late winter muscles ached and burned with life. As we toured casually along the gentle sections, I reminisced in my own mind about the years of riding together. 

Like in the real early years when we rode a smorgasbord of bikes, mostly small-framed single speeds with pedal breaks. They were arguably our favorite style, the kind where we could kick the back foot down and skid to a stop in the old sand alley behind our house. We’d compete against each other for the longest mark. 

These were also the bikes that we’d hastily ditch in the yards of neighbor friends when going to see if they could play. And the same ones with pegs on the back wheel so we could give each other “bucks” downtown to buy a few packs of baseball cards and to re-check the worth of our collection at Kings Cards. 

When we weren’t carrying valuables, we rode them off the dock down at 7th Street beach, sometimes hitting the water still standing on the pedals and other times “ghost riding” them off the dock’s edge with a last minute push forward.

As we grew, our parents bought us all new 21-speed bikes that actually fit our sizes.
These shiny, clean mountain bikes begged of equally adventurous and helmetless riding. 

We knew the neighborhood shortcuts as well as we knew the bike paths at Itasca State Park where we’d spend a week each summer. Our daily trips from the campsite, leaving mom and dad sitting at the picnic table, were some of our first voyages away from the shadow of our parents in a place new to us. 

As we rushed off down the trail through the woods eager to reach the visitor center, we imagined ourselves as adults driving a car on the path painted with a dashed white line down the center. At night after hotdogs and s’mores we would tape flashlights to our handlebars and steer around the campground loops and through pretend stop signs at the corner of the bathroom building. It’s what I looked forward to the most on those camping trips.

I’ve ridden my bike a lot of places but never has it brought my youth back so vividly as when I ride with my brothers. 

Maybe it’s because my earliest memories of being able to balance on a two wheel include their faces. Same with most of the memories of the fights over whose turn it was to ride the red one, and the wipe-outs, and the cops and robbers games, and popping wheelies and jumping the dirt mounds. 

I still laugh almost to tears remembering taking turns pulling the buggy behind our mom’s old Schwinn and being chased down the street by our neighbor’s horse sized Great Dane. As his muzzle got closer to the two of us riding, our screams grew louder and our adrenaline higher.

And here we are almost two decades later, sharing a weekend together to celebrate the pending marriage of the middle sibling, and our brotherhood. 

There are some differences now, like the thick beards and the beers we drink.

But there are things the same too, like the smile I see on my brothers face as we ride the paved trail with a yellow dashed centerline.

The Will brothers ride again.
Cool Temps Will Hold Spring at Bay by Herb Miller on 04/01/2012
Most of you will agree this March has been exceptionally cool and it comes as no surprise tht snowfall in Brightwood set a record.

But the 2009 record for cold weather with averages of 45 and 33 for high and low temperatures, respectively, will likely hold.

This March snowfall totaling 17.75 inches set a record, surpassing the 11.5 inches that fell in 2006. The month got off to a snowy start the first week during which Government Camp measured a 16-inch snowfall on March 1, and Brightwood got 4.5 inches. Then, two warm days on March 8 and 9 followed again by a series of wintry periods until the last week when conditions moderated to a more normal pattern. But precipitation was much above average for most of the month.

The La Nina weather pattern is still declining and expected to become history by the end of April, if not sooner, according to the National Weather Service. The outlook for our area, however, continues to be cooler than average, although precipitation is expected to return to average.

During April, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 55, an average low of 37, and a precipitation average of 7.58 inches including .88 inches of snow. Over the last 10 years high temperatures reached into the 60s two years, into the 70s six years, and made it into the 80s twice. The record high of 90 was set April 27, 1987. Over the past 10 years, the lows are evenly divided between upper 20s or lower 30s. The record low of 26 was set April 12, 1978, but was threatened only four years ago when a 27 was recorded April 1 and 2. Record snowfall for the month fell in 1982 with a total of 6 inches, but again threatened in 2008 with 5.5 inches. Last year set a record for precipitation with a total of 16.10 inches.

During April, Government Camp has an average high of 45, average low of 30, and a precipitation average of 7.21 inches, including 25 inches of snow. The record low of 12 was set April 13, 1968. The record snowfall of 17 inches fell on April 12, 1981, and the record precipitation during March was recorded last year with 14.24 inches.
Prescription Drugs Vs. Lifestyle Changes by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2012
Regular readers of my column know that prescription medicines are not my treatment of choice. Not that Naturopathic doctors cannot prescribe the medical drugs, it’s just not what I signed up to do.

There are more than 500 drugs on the Naturopathic Formulary, presumably placed there so that NDs could take patients off of drugs their MDs may have prescribed. At the patient’s request of course. That said let me once again reiterate the following: DO NOT, under ANY circumstance, STOP any of your prescription drugs without a doctor to oversee your wishes.

All drugs have side effects and all prescribers know that. Certainly there may be times and severe cases where prescription drugs may be the final choice of care. But should over-the-counter or prescripton drugs be the first choice? As more of us question this idea, there is a temptation to stop the medical drugs “cold turkey.” Doing so may lead to what is known as the rebound effect, whereby the symptoms are likely to reoccur with a vengeance.

Most patients are reluctant to ask their provider to remove prescribed meds from their protocol. They fear that will cause their provider to become angry, or that they will be berated, ignored, treated rudely, or given poor medical care. That leads to the dangerous response of the patient feeling like they must stop their meds without supervision.

Many people don’t know that an ND can help with this by putting in underlying protocols to support the patient during the tapering process.

Better still is to think carefully before prescribing any medical drug. Look to the cause first.

Gentlemen, erectile dysfunction is not caused by a deficiency of Viagra. Ladies, fatigue is the number one presenting complaint of hundreds of conditions, not just low thyroid function.

Even some MDs think that you should seek the care of an ND to find the cause of your problems before “asking your doctor if this drug is right for you.”

Lifestyle changes give the most effective, longest lasting, and safest relief from complaints. Fifty years ago the average weight of a citizen in the US was 140 lbs. That average is now 180 lbs. Just losing weight would eliminate a lot of symptoms and decrease the cost of healthcare for yourself and our nation.

What keeps us from looking at the real issues? It’s harder I know to change your life than it is to just take a pill.

The dizzying, dazzling frazzle of today’s lifestyle has patients wanting the quick fix – give me one pill that will fix everything. Yet 76 percent of pharmacists feel that the frazzle-dazzle distractions of their workplace is what’s leading to errors in prescribing.

In order to reduce the number of errors then, we need to reduce the overwhelming input and distractions. A high energy job selling veggetables or plants will not lead to life-threatening results. Dispensing drugs could. And does.

How hard is it for patients to do their part in double-checking everything. Side effects are always given on that long piece of paper that you get with each and every new prescription.

You’ve read them, of course, right?

But there is a problem here in the interface between the pharmacist and the patient. Lots of things interfere with the time to go over side effects, interactions with other prescribed drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and even foods. Not only must you “know your audience” but we must all slow down. Most drugs are prescribed for elders. Elders cannot even read the small print on those extra long pages that list the side effects.

Few people read them.

People are in a huge rush most of the time, even the retired or unemployed. What’s the rush? It will only get you to the end sooner. It is the process of life that matters. But do you find yourself wondering where those last four hours or eight hours or 18 hours went while you surfed the Web? Are you really able to engage with 500 Facebook friends every day? Isn’t it challenging enough to engage with just a few real people each day?
Maybe all this racing around is where some of society’s anger and danger and rudeness is coming from.

The Oregonian ran a story on February 13 about the 76 percent of pharmacists who felt that working at a pharmacy chain was so distracting that it was likely to lead to errors in dispensing. One pharmacist who quit working for a large chain drugstore and went back to working independantly found that not only were the error rates plummeting, but he himself was no longer getting headaches and was sleeping better.
A win-win all around.

Therein perhaps lies the answer to decreased need for prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Choose more healthful lifestyle changes.

A layman I know who is very involved in his church, but stretched too thin, was kind enough to let me know that he “heard” my message of “downsizing, deteching, and de-stressing” and was working in that direction.

While not the only influence in his decision, I am flattered whenever anyone hears what I have to present.

May you all discover and work toward what’s most important to you and let go of some of the stuff that could easily go to the bottom of the list. Those 500 friends on Facebook may have to play second fiddle to your grandson. So be it!
Another Day of Yucks on the Lake by Luke Will on 03/01/2012
Typically, the biggest winter challenge a kayaker here in Minnesota faces is finding open water to paddle. Not up here on the shore of Superior. 

The rocks and cliffs that adorn the lakeside may be laden with ice and the breeze that blows is most often a stiff torrent of Mother Nature’s breath but the water is the kind that floats a boat and for those of us with the appropriate gear, that’s all we need.

Recently, I closed an office day early and slipped my plastic vessel into the 38 degree water for an arctic tour of the resorts shoreline.  It took me 13 minutes to pull on all my cold weather gear, layering wetsuits, fleece, and a dry jacket.  After neoprene booties, gloves and a scull cap, only my neck and face – divided by a warm beard – showed to the world.

I slid like a seal from the high cobble beach, plunging the bow of my kayak underneath the water.  It was sure to be coated in ice by the time I returned.

It took only a few strokes and a three-step worth of rocking my hips to regain the comfort of wearing my boat.

As I pulled away from the open beach hoping to duck behind a rocky outcrop, I faintly heard my name being called. I stalled long enough to have my photo taken a few times by a friend claiming it better me than her to be paddling on that fading winter night.

Paddling alongside the tree covered shoreline, I can hear the sounds of cars speeding by on the highway, which is not far off. For the first time I can actually see the highway, and a street sign, which finally helps me gauge exactly how far I am down from the resort.

Instead of being three points of land away, I know that I am three-fourths of a mile, as the crow flies, from my put in. Helpful information when guests that I’m guiding this coming summer grill me for details to brag about when they get home.

I finished the mile stretch and turned back into the head wind and chop of cold waves. Thinking maybe this would slow my return trip down I quickly realized that my solid stroke hadn’t gone hibernating and instead made headway with relative ease.

As I approached that last point before the beach I momentarily saw a blaze orange hat of a tourist’s head but ditched his line of sight backing into a small cove. Paranoia mostly, but I don’t want anyone watching a failed roll. 

I quickly threw my arms across my body a few times, and feeling loose, I turned and tucked left with my paddle along the side of my kayak. Two seconds and 360 degrees later I’m back upright, contorting my face to deal with the ice cream headache that wrenches my forehead and cheeks. 

With a satisfied and adrenaline soaked smirk on my face I pulled out from the cove and waved to the group of visitors as I passed. They just stared, seeming a bit bemused. A few hundred yards later and knowing they were probably still watching me, I threw in another roll for good measure.

After shouldering my kayak to a safe place and returning to the lodge, the warmth melted my face and fingertips. I trudged through the lobby dripping half frozen icicles and crinkling a thin layer of ice from my jacket. 

“How was the water?” the front desker asks as I wade by.
 
“As good as it gets,” I say, beaming.
Outlook for March: Cooler and Wetter by Herb Miller on 03/01/2012
February followed the pattern set by January with drier than average weather during the first half, followed by wetter than average weather during the second half of the month.

Precipitation in Brightwood measured less than 2 inches through the first 15 days, but made up for lost time after that. Government Camp also got its share of moisture during the second half of the month, but lost some of its snowpack between Feb. 20 and 22 when a total of more than 4 inches of rain came in on the back of a pineapple express.

But snow lovers rejoiced during the last few days of the month with a return of wintry weather.

The La Nina weather pattern is expected to dissipate during the coming weeks and be completely gone by the end of April – if not sooner – according to the National Weather Service. The outlook for our area for March, however, continues the customary cooler and wetter than average forecast.

During March, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 52, average low of 35, and a precipitation average of 7.79 inches, including 2.8 inches of snow. Over the last 10 years, high temperatures into the 60s occurred in five years, into the 70s three times, and only two years failed to get above the 50s. The record high of 81 was set March 31, 1987, but a balmy 76 was recorded eight years ago on March 29, 2004. Low temperatures routinely fall into the upper 20s, and the record low of 21 was set March 4, 1989.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41, an average low of 27, and a precipitation average of 9.07 inches, including 47 inches of snow. Only three of the past nine years failed to get above the 40s, but five got into the 60s. The record high of 70 was set March 30, 1966. Lows fall into the low 20s or teens most years, but the record low of 1 degree was recorded March 1, 1971. The record snowfall was set only nine years ago when 22 inches was measured March 7, 2003, followed the next day with another 21 inches. This has been a snowy decade, since only last year, 18 inches of snow fell March 1, 2011.

The Duck, steeled for adventure.
The Duck with No Name by Luke Will on 02/02/2012
I would watch it plunge into the troughs and then smack the oncoming wall of water with a head butt.  Seeing how far under the water it went, I used it as a gauge for the conditions we were paddling in. 

If it went all the way under and caused a large splash, I paid a little more attention. Otherwise, it just glided triumphantly across Lake Superior strapped to my bow, feeling the winds and waves beneath its cracked and hollowed bottom.

It became my mascot, though it never got the glory of a name.  And it probably traveled farther than any other rubber ducky of its kind. 

Waking up in a thick fog, our camp was perched on a heaping beach of cobblestones. It was a dumping beach, where the waves crash quick and steep and can carry debris far past the reach of waves on a calm day. We couldn’t see very far down the shore, let alone out to open water.
 
When we had landed the previous night, in the dying daylight, only the tip of our kayaks grinded against the rocks as though we were bumping up against a curb.  We climbed out of our cockpits into the water and heaved our loaded boats up the incline to level ground. Then we set up camp amid the driftwood and fell asleep.

Stretching my legs that morning and picking through the beach washed treasures, I found it.  Bright yellow against the rocks and tanned logs, I couldn’t miss it. I immediately picked it up to inspect the well being of this bathtub favorite. 

How it had ended up in this gigantic bathtub basin, I have no idea. How far had it already traveled? How long had it been nested on this beach? 

Without thinking further, I returned to my kayak and slid it under two deck lines that came together. It fit perfectly and matched with my sea kayak’s hood – an ornament.
It held on there for the last half of our Superior Dream, roughly 700 miles. Never flinching in the face of nasty weather, that yellow duck with the bright smile was a stoic symbol of staying on task and sticking with it. If it weren’t for me moving and steering the boat (or my co-paddler typically being in front of me), I’d say it led the way.

After we landed on our last beach and I unloaded every piece of equipment into my brother’s truck from my hatches, I was about to hoist the boat onto the roof rack when I realized it was time to take him off. I hadn’t thought of removing him since the moment I snugged him aboard. 

Though still nameless, somewhere during that time he had gained a gender and my affection.  My Wilson, of sorts.

He made his way into a gear bag and stayed there until a couple months later I moved into a small cabin. When I brought my paddling gear to my new home, I didn’t unpack much but I did grab that rubber ducky. 

For a second, I thought about resting him on the dash of my truck to continue our voyage together. However, in a moment – as quick a moment as it took to fasten him to my kayak – he got put on a wire rack just above the faucet of my kitchen sink.
Standing at the counter I see him everyday. Instead of open expanses of fresh water, remote islands, bugs and crashing waves, together we now stare at sudsy water filled with dirty dishes. He’s been there ever since.

Again, I haven’t thought of moving him, either out of finding comfort in his place or because I’ve got no better spot.

Sometimes I feel a bit of remorse for him, knowing the wild ride he once knew – perhaps still in symbolism, nesting in wait for the next adventure.
The Connection Between Body, Mind, Spirit by Victoria Larson on 02/02/2012
February is the month when we celebrate heart connections – though many people still have not made the connection between body, mind, heart, and spirit that is so important to make before you can connect with another person.

Within the human brain there is an actual connection between mind and body. The hypothalamus connects to the pituitary gland within your brain and this is the interface where mind to body connections occur. Further studies have shown that there are actual cells on the surface of the heart that receive emotional signals.

The Chinese system of medicine, so eloquently described in The Web That Has No Weaver, evaluates “shen.” Shen is consciousness, the light that shines in your eyes, the connection to heart-spirit that means you are alive.

Emotions like grief deplete the heart, as we all know whenever we have experienced a terrible loss. Worry knots the flow of blood to the heart and makes breathing more difficult. Fear and anxiety weaken the heart – all emotions affecting each of us at some time or other.

Though we see some spring-like days in February, we are still truly in winter. The system of Chinese medicine is thousands of years old and in that system, winter is seen as the water element. The power of winter is deep, it lies within, it is quiet, according not only to the Chinese water element but also reflecting our weather patterns. Winter isn’t over despite those days of lightness of being. We must stay in tune with nature to be healthy.

 When the water element is out of balance, illness can occur. In the Chinese medicine system the kidneys and bladder are the organs that are the seat of emotions such as fear and anxiety. Our modern society seems to have taken on the burden of overall fear. We have fear-based medicine, fear-based insurance, a fear-based food system. We tighten up with fear. Fear is the emotion that blocks the release of love. We hurt our hearts.

Fear-based medicine tells you to “ask your doctor if this medical drug might be right for you.” Most practitioners know that, in most cases, by the time you get to the third prescription, you are taking that third drug in hopes of alleviating the side effects of the first two!

Lifestyle changes work better, are safer, and last longer. But they do require you to be fully alert, alive, awake, and aware (see December column). Who gains when you ask for another medical drug?

Fear-based insurance systems may not cover preventive testing, but if you become ill, they will cover a large percentage of your care. Does this system encourage you to take care of yourself and strive for health? Or does it just leave some people sitting on the couch, eating the junk food, hoping that by the time they get sick there will be a miraculous cure for whatever ails them that the insurance will pay for.

Who loses if you don’t take care of yourself?

Don’t kid yourself, insurance companies are in the business of making money.
Our fear-based food system has animals being raised in cramped cages and feedlots with adrenaline coursing through their veins at the time of slaughter. Packaged foods, and over-the-counter medicines, can become contaminated. Food shipped long distances is by definition not “fresh.” Huge, corporate farms grow food that is not monitored for bioterrorism. The USDA does not employ enough people to monitor contamination. Who wins and who loses?

The opposite of fear is trust. If we learn to trust our own bodies, we will listen to the messages from within.

If you are overweight, what does that mean? If you have aches and pains, what does that mean? What do the headaches mean? Does the alcoholic love himself? So many questions we need to be asking ourselves and then quietly listening to that inner wisdom which resides in all of us.

We must learn to trust, to love our mental capacity, our wisdom, our spirit. We have boundless potential with only ourselves to blame if we hold back. Denying the flow of winter’s water element will only lead to further tightening of the spirit which hurts the heart which causes anxiety which leads to fear and so on.

Open yourself to heart-felt relationships. Try to take more control of your life so you will trust more and fear less. Breathe deeper. Move more. Relax more. Contemplate or meditate or pray more. Stop and think before you say something you regret. Say you’re sorry if you do.

If we are balanced in the water element, we exhibit fluidity and that flow leads to compassion, deeper understanding, and responsiveness to the feelings and needs of those around you.

May you find a happy heart within you.

Use my mantra: trust, believe, rest, relax.

May all be well in your heart.
La Nina is Weakening by Herb Miller on 02/02/2012
Until the last week of December, Brightwood had received less than an inch of precipitation for the month, but received 9.52 inches before the month ended – and Government Camp was almost equal with 9.63 inches – eliminating any more thoughts about record dryness.

January also started on the dry side with Brightwood receiving only 1.54 inches of precipitation during the first 13 days. But after that we started worrying about flooding. During the 5-day period from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21, Brightwood got 10.59 inches of precipitation, more than 10 inches being snow. Government Camp boosted its snow depth 40 inches during the same period – much to the relief of skiers and boarders.

After that, conditions moderated to more typical weather for this time of year and temperatures were close to average. For the record, as year ended, Brightwood had received a total precipitation amount of 94.30 inches, which is 118 percent of the average 79,66 inches.

The La Nina weather pattern is showing signs of weakening but is still the major factor for influencing the National Weather Service’s prediction for our area to have colder than average temperatures during February, although the precipitation total is expected to be about average.

During February, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 47, an average low of 34, and a precipitation average of 8.40 inches – including 6.3 inches of snow. Four of the last 10 years had high temperatures that reached the 60s, and the other six reached into the 50s. Record highs of 66 was recorded Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 of 1996. Lows routinely drop into the 20s, although two of the last 10 years had lows in the teens. The recent low of 2 degrees was set Feb. 3, 1989. Record snowfall of 32 inches fell during February, 1986, compared to the 14.75 inches measured last year. Record precipitation of 17.60 inches was recorded in 1979.

During February, Government Camp has an average high of 38, average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 9.70 inches – including 41.9 inches of snow. Three years out of the last nine had highs in the 60s, and four never got above the 40s. The record high of 69 was set Feb. 1, 1962. The record of minus-13 was set on both Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, 1989.
Get Healthy, Lose Weight, Save Some Bucks by Victoria Larson on 01/02/2012
Is it possible to do all three at once?

You bet!

First of all, “dieting” doesn’t work because your body receives the message that you are limiting caloric intake and reads that as starvation mode. When your body senses a decrease in nutrition, you start to store fat as a hedge against starvation. Hormones are released that store that fat in your liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, or more obviously, belly fat. Excess fat storage in the belly area can lead to diabetes and keep you out of your skinny jeans.

Let’s make this a healthier year. If “dieting” worked, we’d all be fit and trim. Repeated dieting is harder on your body than a one-time but ongoing lifestyle change. Is 2012 the year for you to make that change?

During famine and economic downturn there is a tendency for people to buy what they perceive to be low cost foods. This often equates to junk food. Junk food that leads to diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver (which occurs as readily from junk food as alcohol and drugs), or heart disease isn’t really cheap.

Healthcare costs our nation a fortune. You don’t really want to contribute to that cost, do you, when a change in lifestyle could help you get healthier, lose weight, and save money to boot.

The number one lifestyle change you can make then is to stop buying junk food. You know if it is there, you will eat it. And so will the kids.

We just finished a holiday season with lots of treats and there’s another one coming up next month. Treat foods are just that, treats. They are not for daily consumption. They do not need to sit on the counter or in the pantry to tempt us. Just don’t buy them, don’t bring them into the house. Saves money and helps you lose weight and get healthier.

School systems don’t quite get it yet, which really leaves me worried. Their rules demand that the foods provided for school parties be “healthy” and “packaged” and not homemade. Which means they allow Rice Krispie Treats as a “healthy treat.”

Egads people, an orange is beautifully colored, texturally interesting, and nicely scented. But how many kids do you think would be thrilled with that? Oddly, when kids come to my house and that’s what I offer, they eat two or three oranges each!
Set a good example and the kids will follow.

Speaking of parties, when you and I were kids, birthday parties were the times when we got treats, not every day. And remember those little nut cups at each party place setting? They went a long way toward balancing blood sugar and keeping us kids from becoming sugar-crazed zombies. Ice cream was considered a treat, not a nightly indulgence.

Ice cream is one of the supermarket foods that is exempt from ingredient labeling. Most commercial ice cream contains formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, according to the dictionary, is “a colorless, toxic, water-soluble gas having a suffocating odor, usually derived from methyl alcohol.”

Sound good?

Not to me either.

Another way to get healthy, lose weight, and save money is to grow some of your own food.

Anybody can do this.

There are many articles and books about “locavores.” Locavores are people who get their nutrition from within a 100 mile radius of where they live, more or less depending on the book or article.

I read once about a woman in New York who gets all of her food from within 35 feet of where she resides! She’s a lacto-ovo vegetarian and lives next to a community garden.
But my favorite source for this approach is in Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” a book that is part research, part philosophy, and part lifestyle guide.

 With this book as a guide, I set out last year to try to only eat local food. That meant no papayas or peaches or pineapples. I missed those fruits but not as much as I expected I would.

Life does go on with only local food.

Oh sure, I made a few exceptions here and there with olive oil and grains, but I also felt more self-reliant and frugal. I bought more expensive, but local dairy products and protein because I knew who raised those foods and wanted to support our local economy.

Most importantly, I felt healthier, lost weight, and cut my food bill in half, even with more expensive food choices.

 If you think you don’t have time for raising any of your own food, try this. Step away from the television. “The Bachelorette” and Kim Kardashian have nothing to do with your life. Compute how many non-work hours you spend on the computer or any of the “i” devices and cut that at least in half. You do not need to know everytime someone you know goes to the car wash. Take that time, take a deep breath, and go outside. Or maybe go outside and then take the deep breath. If you garden you won’t need to spend money on a gym membership, believe me. Digging does wonders for that belly fat!

 Lastly, to get healthier, lose weight, and save money, cook.

Just stay home and cook.
 
That sodium-laden can of soup may seem cheap, but in reality it is much more costly than a crockpot full of homemade soup.

If you are going to turn on the oven, make a whole pan full of roasted winter vegetables and re-heat them as needed for the next few days.

Save eating out for birthdays and other special occasions, not three times a week.
Fix larger batches of food and enjoy the “time off” when you get to those nights when you don’t feel up to it.

In time you will feel up to it.

You will have more energy as you slim down, better health, and just think of the money you’ll save if you raise some of your own food.

 As I write this column while my soup simmers, I look out over the garden where I’m still getting broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and leeks.

My herbs have been brought in to the windowsill for the winter and I am still eating varieties of peppers and tomatoes and beets and squash that cover the pantry benches with color and texture and good nutrition.

Boy, do I feel good, in so many ways.

I wish the same for you in 2012.
The 'Life' of a Salesman by Sandra Palmer on 01/02/2012
As Sidney Lister is pressed into service as a fill-in salesman when his company’s long-time rep dies unexpectedly, he has no idea what adventures await as he begins a first sales trip down the Oregon coast.

When explaining about the death of Jonsey to his company’s clients, he is met with a wide range of reactions – everything from shock to genuine sorrow – and he is amazed to learn of his long-term predecessor’s deep connections in the communities he visits.
 
But soon his worries are much more than how to explain the unfortunate circumstances of Jonsey’s demise and obtain sales orders. Soon much of Sidney’s time and attention is spent avoiding a deranged person from his past who is terrified that Sidney may reveal his involvement in a potential scandal. Soon Sidney’s sales trip involves car chases and life-and-death confrontations while he also tries to sort out fresh puzzles in his personal life.

A chance encounter with a very attractive woman he knew back in his high school days and the emotions it stirs cause Sidney to re-assess his continuing relationship with his supportive ex-wife back in Portland. His confrontation with the belligerent owner of a chain of stores about a secret from the past results in unexpected resolution of a matter that had been kept in the dark for many years, a matter that had been used as financial leverage by his employers.

Several other customers reveal touching stories of small and large kindnesses by Jonsey, the previous sales rep, while others – in their shock at the news of Jonsey’s death – reveal deep hurts the surprising news dredges up afresh.

Those who know the life of a traveling salesperson will relate to the day-to-day challenges in Sidney’s professional life and the diverse personalities that he encounters on this initial sales trip – the endless parade of inexpensive motels and roadside café meals and the constant challenge of meeting sales expectations.

And readers will enjoy the personal stories Sidney hears at every stop and the many references to familiar communities, attractions and business establishments along the Oregon Coast.

George Wright’s voice is very clearly the narrator of the tale which makes the book even more enjoyable for those of us who know him and enjoy his sense of humor in person.
Native Oregonian George Byron Wright is the author of the Oregon Trio, a unique body of work comprised of three novels set in the small towns of his youth. Baker City 1948 was published first, followed by Tillamook 1952, and Roseburg 1959. His fourth novel, Driving to Vernonia, was released in 2009.

He lives with his wife and first reader, Betsy, in Portland, Oregon but visits his Mount Hood cabin often.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’East Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Here in the Not-So-Great by Luke Will on 01/02/2012
I’ve noted every wintry forecast during the past month that called for any kind of snow, whether just flurries or actual accumulation. With the exception of the 2 inches on Christmas Eve, to date they have all produced zilch.

Well maybe not zilch, there was that day a couple weeks back where it rained from sunup to sundown. And then dipped below freezing that night after the precipitation had moved on. 

It’s been that kind of winter up here in the not-so-great north. 

The temperatures have fluctuated so frequently it’s difficult to establish any kind of tolerance for the really cold stuff. And it’s making my beer turn skunky, going back and forth from cool to room temperature in the entryway.
 
It’s not fair to compare this season to last, or really any other for that matter, but it still doesn’t remove the sting of exceptionally poor skiing and snowshoeing conditions. Heck, I’m just sick of seeing brown everywhere. 

Anywhere near the shore, I am left with sloppy spring-like trails, occasionally freezing to an unpleasant iced over patchwork of rocks, roots and crusty mud. Typically at this point I’d be gliding over top of these same trails on skis, or at the very least, clinging to them on snowshoes.

Of course there is a silver lining to recognize I suppose in the snowless conditions. But just two come to mind. 

First, many of our lakes (not including the big girl out my window, Superior) have been ideal for Zamboni smooth, wilderness ice-skating. It’s not often you can skate from the tailgate and practice your puck handling out across an entire lake. No rink shoveling here.

The other is the extended trail running season. With a good pair of Yak Trax attached to my running shoes and an occasional neck gaiter, Tischer and I have been covering the familiar trails around our home and seeing no one else on the path. On those cold mornings, it’s been wintry bliss hearing the water gurgle under a layer of ice as we carefully make our way up a spur trail.

I point these out in the spirit of trying to find the good in what I consider very bad winter conditions. If I didn’t want snow around I’d head back down to the lower elevations of the Grand Canyon where the trail running this time of year really is ideal. 

But instead, I weather my surroundings with the hope that a big dump will come and catch us up to a typical winter here in the northland. That and I have a job that I like and a life that I otherwise am very happy with. If not, I would have thrown my patience into the chiminea and watched its smoke disappear into the flake-less night a month ago.

In the meantime I’ll continue trying to enjoy the fruits of this weird and thus far disappointing season. And after which, as I settle under my wall lamp listening to the wind howl over the snowless grass outside, I’ll return to flipping through my Montana tourist catalog that I picked up last month while passing through Bozeman, dreaming of putting myself into the boots of the backcountry skier on the cover touring over that mysterious mountain ridgeline.

The conditions look sweet there.
The Wet Stuff is on the Way by Herb Miller on 01/02/2012
The first three weeks of December were unseasonably dry and sunny during which both Brightwood and Government Camp received less than an inch of precipitation. After Christmas our weather reverted to the more seasonal, wet pattern to which we’re accustomed this time of year.

Nonetheless, the record for a dry December is threatened, with our target a 2.91 inches recorded in Brightwood in 1986. Other dry years measured 3.84 inches in 1988 and 5.66 inches in 2000. Temperature averages were close to normal despite feeling a bit colder than usual, which can be explained by the absence of any Arctic chill to lower the averages.

The National Weather Service observes a continuing La Nina pattern which translates to cooler temperatures and above average precipitation for our area. That’s good news to those looking for more snow on the slopes.

During January Brightwood has an average high temperature of 43, an average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.61 inches, including 9.3 inches of snow. Only one year in the last 10 failed to have a high temperature reach above the 40s, the record high being 60 degrees during both 2001 and 2005. Two out of the last 10 years had lows drop into the teens, the record being 9 degrees in 1996. The record high precipitation total of 19.54 inches fell in 2006 and the record 24-hour snowfall of 27 inches was measured Jan. 9, 1980 – compared to a 16-inch snowfall Jan. 11, 1998. The year 2008 had a generous snowfall total of 29.5 inches.

During January Government Camp has an average high temperature of 35 degrees, an average low of 24, and a precipitation average of 13.25 inches, including 59 inches of snow. Chances of having a high temperature reach into the 50s are 5-out-of-8, and chances of a low dropping into single digits are 50-50. A record high of 65 was recorded Jan. 24, 1968 compared to a fairly recent 59 set Jan. 23, 2005. The record low of minus-8 occurred Jan. 12, 1963, compared to a minus-2 in 2004. A record precipitation total of 5.20 inches was set only two years ago Jan. 2, 2009. The record snowfall of 35 inches was measured Jan. 9, 1980 compared to the 26 inches measured Jan. 21, 2002.
Remember Wet December by Herb Miller on 12/03/2011
The first two weeks of November were fairly close to the typical cloudy, wet days we are accustomed to, although the precipitation amount was a bit lower than average.

After that winter weather began to take hold, and by Nov. 19 Brightwood got 2.5 inches of snow – just a token amount compared to what fell in Government Camp, where skiing and boarding got started at SkiBowl by Thanksgiving. After that, drier weather prevailed during the rest of the month.

The National Weather Service forecasts continued La Nina observations during the next few months, but expects a slow recovery to normal conditions to follow.

For our area during December, colder and above average precipitation is forecast.
During December, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 42, and average low of 33, and a precipitation average of 10.97 inches, including 6.1 inches of snow. High temperatures have reached into the 50s at least once during each of the last 10 years. Lows routinely drop into the 20s, although a reading of 9 degrees was set Dec. 9 just last year. The record December low of 2 degrees was set Dec. 21, 1990. Greatest precipitation of 5.68 inches fell Dec. 22, 1964, and the most snowfall of 12.5 inches was measured Dec. 18, 1968. But the record snowfall during December of 43.75 inches occurred only three years ago in 2008.

During December, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 36 degrees, an average low of 25, and a precipitation average of 13.92 inches, including 52 inches of snow. During the past eight years, high temperatures routinely reached into the 40s. Lows dropped into the single digits four years and the others down into the teens. A record high of an unbelievable 73 degrees was set Dec. 14, 1963. The record low of minus-14 was set the following year on Dec. 17, 1964. Greatest precipitation of 4.85 inches fell Dec. 28, 1998, surpassing the 4.70 inches measured Dec. 22, 1964 – the year of the historic flood. The most snowfall of 26 inches was measured just three years ago on Dec. 18, 2008.

Luke Packs Out the Perfect Tree.
A Mount Hood Christmas by Luke Will on 12/03/2011
After discovering that a friend of ours was listening to Christmas music during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, another friend shook his head in disapproval. “No Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Ever.”

I don’t feel as strongly. The recent memory of driving over a Montana mountain pass late at night in a white-out while the only receivable radio station delivered warm renditions of “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” comes to mind. It was weeks before Turkey Day and yet very fitting – comforting and even helping to keep my pickup afloat in a sea of flakes and big rigs.

Another seasonal tradition tipped off by the day of giving thanks is putting up the tree. For me, this tradition took shape as a college student in northern Minnesota. My roommates and I would gear up for a night or two of winter camping and head into the Superior National Forest with a $5 permit in hand searching for our idea of the best Christmas tree.

I wanted to bring this ritual with me when I moved up onto Mount Hood in 2006. But living alone in a college cabin in Government Camp, I didn’t have anyone to regularly venture into the woods with, other than my dog, Tischer (which we did often enough).  
Students were almost always up to visit on the weekends and whenever else they didn’t have classes, but that first year no one showed up for Thanksgiving.

I distinctly remember waking up to a vacant cabin and craving something to keep me busy and prevent me from missing out on something somewhere else. I packed a small backpack with some cheese curds, baby carrots, and a flask of whiskey and headed up between the Alpine and Glade trail alone (this was just before I adopted Tischer). It was dumping snow and I huddled underneath a large Douglas fir bough willing my cold snacks into steaming stuffing and gravy. 

When they didn’t I trudged down into town and sat at Charlie’s for beer and football.
Having just moved up and feeling the weight of transition, I skipped having a tree in my living room that year. It was the emptiest feeling I could imagine. I flew back to Minnesota for the holidays and skipped that lonely void.

The following year, I decided to offer a group of students planning to come for the Thanksgiving weekend a good ole fashioned Griswold Family Christmas experience. I coordinated with them to bring what they would need to tromp through the snow covered Mount Hood Wilderness (snow and cold weren’t familiar notions to some).

I picked up the permit and bought a small sled and on Friday after the feast, 14 college kids joined Tischer and me on a snowshoe hunt for the ski cabin’s Christmas tree. I even remembered the saw. 

From the Frog Lake parking lot we bushwacked into the backcountry, wading through tree branches and hip deep snow. As we spread out, someone would call out when they spotted a contender with Tischer bolting from site to site. 

After finding the top two, we got down to the nitty gritty of which one had the fullest crown, was a better height for the living room, was straightest, and would look better in the corner.  

It was a stiff competition. 

I dug out around the trunk and a few students took turns sawing it down. We loaded it on the sled and began the winding drag back to the truck. When it got really thick, I just laid it over my shoulder and walked it the rest of the way.

Back at the cabin, we strung lights and cut out paper ornaments. I drank eggnog spiced with rum and I’m pretty sure we listened to an Elvis Presley Christmas CD.

 It was a Charlie Brown tree and I kept it up for the next two months until I became uncomfortable with the fire danger. 

The next year, I had students emailing me asking if we could go cut a tree over Thanksgiving break.

I was more than happy to oblige.

The tradition lives on now that I’m living back on the edge of the Superior National Forest and I hope the same for Mount Hood.
Sex, Drugs, and Rolling on the Rails by Sandra Palmer on 12/03/2011
Are you ready for an unexpected, unorthodox thrill ride?

“Wire to Wire” by Scott Sparling is a beautifully crafted thrill ride of a novel, populated by uniquely flawed characters. While you may not expect to care about them, this skillful writer pulls you into the story with insightful writing that reveals unorthodox stories and settings.

While hopping a ride on a freight train with his good buddy, Harp, Michael Slater is almost electrocuted when a live overhead power line hits him in the head, sending an enormous jolt of electricity through his body.

After a brief stint of rehabilitation in Arizona, Michael runs back to meet up with Harp in northern Michigan after leaving a disreputable rival for dead in the remote desert.

After driving the dead man’s broken-down vehicle back to reunite with Harp, Michael finds himself falling in love with Harp’s girlfriend, Lane, who – while lovely and incredibly sensual – has a significant addiction to sniffing glue. It also turns out that Lane’s brother, Charlie, is the area’s drug dealer who also runs a house of ill repute.

Charlie is also involved in many other behind-the-scenes illicit schemes – some involving violence and destruction. One of his major problems is a dead girl in the freezer he must find a way to dispose of. And Michael is unaware that the beat-up car he drove from Arizona is padded with cash that others have not forgotten about. Nor is the creep he left dying in the desert likely to “forgive and forget.”

Years later, Michael is still haunted by the events that play out when all of these incendiary ingredients collide.

As he works as a film editor, his flickering video screens often seem to call up significant images and events that he is still trying to sort out. Michael also vividly recalls the romance and thrill of catching rides on box cars and roaming where the rails might take him, exploring an oddly poetic but gritty and wildly dangerous world.

Not afraid of a expertly written thrill ride of a novel even if there is plenty of sex, drugs, and violence? A novel filled with characters unlike any you have ever met who will make you care about them in spite of their deep flaws and addictions? Then “Wire to Wire” is for you. This novel is surprisingly wonderful and Sparling’s writing skill absolutely dazzles.

Scott Sparling lives somewhere near the railroad tracks not far from Portland, Oregon with his wife and son. “Wire to Wire” is his first novel.

Be Alert, Alilve, Awake and Aware by Victoria Larson on 12/03/2011
As the darker months arrive we have time to reflect on the past year. In nature, the animals and plants slow down, hibernate even.

We should too.

Quieting the mind is more difficult in our modern frazzle-dazzle world. Pick out one day of the year to live as nature guides. I choose winter solstice as that day where I remain most in tune with nature’s easing of pressures.

On the solstice, not only are all electronic devices turned off, but so are electric lights and appliances (mostly because of the noise). I light candles and stare at flames and contemplate the blessings that have ensued over the past years.

It is a deeply quieting experience that I recommend to everyone.

It is just one day, but you let go in ways you may have not thought possible. Deepak Chopra says “enlightenment comes in the silence between the spaces.” 

Twenty-three years ago a diagnosis of melanoma sent me into the tailspin that our society teaches is the response to any life-threatening experience. I was angry, petrified, depressed, almost comatose with being stuck in that diagnosis, especially since you are not considered cured of cancer until five years have passed. 

Those first five years were full of difficult times – a major move, empty nest syndrome, marriage problems, made even more difficult with times of no electricity or running water.

But life only flows in one direction so I moved forward, one step at a time. Knowing, really knowing that your life could end in a moment puts an edge to living that sharpens and clarifies. 

One never knows how long they have to live or what sentence of circumstance can alter your life forever. Remember the story of the pebbles, the rock, and the boulder? A life-threatening circumstance is a boulder, a wake-up call, yet it can be a blessing in its own way. As you process the massive potential of “unknowingness” you wake up to all kinds of opportunities, potential, and change.

Just being fully, intentionally awake gives you pause. You begin to live with intention, not just plodding through, but thinking through, engaging your heart, opening to universal wisdom. 

Twenty-three years of unexpected life is not a milestone I celebrate because every single day is a quiet celebration of life. Yet in those years so many things happened that I never, ever anticipated: I graduated medical school, had six grandchildren come into my life, vacationed on a yacht in Mexico with a retired U.S. Ambassador and his wife, studied in China for a month, delivered 73 babies in Jamaica, had the best vacation of my life in Costa Rica, made bunches of new friends and enjoyed a full life.

Not one of those events could have been predicted. 

As we become more aware of what is important in life, we tune in to our own powerful connection to the universe. Humbly realizing that we are not in charge makes listening to that guidance so much easier and more powerful.

Aligning yourself to true beliefs may mean eating less junk food, getting up off the couch or away from the computers. Doing what matters instead of being controlled by obligations of false beliefs. We bang around in our world, sometimes pushed, sometimes pulled, without paying attention to where we really want to be. When the soul and the mind and the heart and the body are aligned, questions lose the word “should” and solutions come.

The purpose of the proverbial pebbles is to alert you to a problem. Pebbles thrown at you may sting a little but mostly we tend to ignore that first wake-up call, treating it as just an annoyance.

Rocks thrown may hurt you more, may cause you to stop and think. Do you listen or push on by the insult that is actually a warning to listen more closely.

It is the boulder that knocks you down to size. We are most assuredly not in charge. You only need to listen, take charge of your life, with the help of that new ability to hear the whisper of guidance.

Nature provides the metaphor for our life. This is the quiet time of the year, for reflection and good spirit. Enjoy the twinkling lights coming through the darkness, partake of some of the sweetness all around, and let the holiday love flow.

For you are truly blessed.

Happy holidays.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Good Health by Victoria Larson on 11/02/2011
During the summer, while lunching with my son-in-law in a restaurant, I noticed the diners across from us bowed their heads. I reminisced on how rare an open show of faith is in our society.

A few years ago I took a lovely young woman to breakfast and found her open display of faith to be heartening. I myself do  not always pray before meals in restaurants, but always do so at my seminars, natural medicine events, and at home where my faith is strengthened. After all, my training was at a private school that believes in the mind, heart, body, spirit connection.

 As it turns out, at that table near us, the diners were bowing their heads to check their cellphones. Not connecting with each other, nor with a higher power, but bowing to the “almighty” electronic device. There is no question this is what we have become in the United States. Slaves to electronics. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can still have “porch talk” with my cousin though we are a state apart. Or see the artwork of a famous friend in Colorado. Or let my daughter know the latest amusing things her sons have said. But the young people of our nation would rather lose an arm or a leg, literally, than be without their cellphones.

 This doesn’t seem right to me. Yet, slaves we have become. I was recently in a grocery store in the ten-items-or-less line. I stood with my six items, next in line, when the computers went down. It was almost instant chaos as the checkout line rapidly grew to prodigious length due to the non-functioning machine. Some purchasers were shunted to other lanes, some stood stoically waiting for the machines to return to function. The prices of our purchases were unknown to the checkout person, and unavailable without the machines, so she could not even write down our purchases, open the cash drawer, and make change. Heck, hardly anyone can make change without a calculating device any more.

 It slowly dawned on me that I was witnessing slavery in action. I put down my six items and left the store, mentioning that I did not want to be a slave to a machine. Nothing I was purchasing was something I couldn’t live without. They were items of want but not of need. I felt somehow lightened as I left the store with some new resovle. Join the “slow food” movement. Shop where cash registers aren’t even in use. Barter more.

 We love our machines but have we lost some perspective in the transition? We are now a nation where most people, in all levels of income, spend more of their income on electronic devices than they do on food. As we reflect this month on our lives, our liberties, and our right to pursue health (without which there is no happiness) have we lost sight of some of the meaning of life. The goal is not to have the most electro-magnetic signals going into your body.

 You will not die without a Blackberry, a cellphone, an iPad, or even a TV. Yet everyone reading this column knows what all those words I just used mean. Some people may, however, not know what a parsnip is, where turnips come from, or that potatoes grow underground. Maybe you don’t need to eat those foods specifically, but you would for sure die without food. I’m not knocking electronic devices for they’ve brought us many wonderful connections. But you can’t eat them and they won’t really bring you any closer to God.

 Here we are, American citizens spending more on electronics than on food. Over half of the people I meet tell me they are “into natural medicine” but that they “can’t afford it” or their “insurance doesn’t cover.” These are invariably the people who still take vacations, get professional manicures, buy new fashion accessories on a regular basis, and, of course, the latest electronic device. This includes the people living at poverty level.

 If you can afford a new fill-in-the-blank electronic device, you can afford organic food. A study of several families was recently done in Seattle. The study matched the families by residence location, number of family members, and similar purchases. The “test” was to see if there was any difference in purchasing from a regular grocery store or the health oriented, organic store. Later blood testing for pesticide residue was done on both groups. The children of the families buying the non-organic foods had pesticide levels that were a whopping 90 percent higher than the families making their food purchases from the standard grocery store.

 So what’s more important? The newest electronic gadget, or your health? You have life, you have liberty, you have the right to pursue what is most important to you. You have the freedom to make your own choices. We are profoundly blessed in the United States to have good, healthy food available to us. We may have to seek out other sources, make other choices, or even eat less of some items, but we have those choices. Let’s remember to be grateful for our abundance, and for our choices. I hope you make the right choices. And may every day be a day of thanks giving.

Blessings to you all.

(Dr. Victoria Larson is a Naturapathic doctor. Call for appointment: 503-515-9091.)
Beauty and Power; The Perfect Queen by Sandra Palmer on 11/02/2011
Cleopatra has been a subject of fascination for centuries and countless historians have attempted to capture the truth behind the legend of this fascinating and powerful woman. However, Stacy Schiff has provided a life story for Cleopatra that carefully adjusts for the perspectives and prejudices of various historical records to create a saga that is personal and entertaining as well as thoroughly researched.

Certainly, even the broadest details of Cleopatra’s life provide plenty of dramatic interest. Cleopatra was proclaimed a goddess at birth, became the queen of Egypt at 18 and at the height of her reign “she controlled virtually the entire eastern Mediterranean coast, the last great kingdom of any Egyptian ruler.”

While she inherited a kingdom technically in decline, the descriptions of Egyptian wealth in Ms. Schiff’s volume take the breath away. Over the course of her lifetime, Cleopatra would lose her kingdom, regain it, acquire an even wider empire and then finally lose it all – and take her own life in dramatic fashion.

She is portrayed as an exceptionally well educated and competent ruler: disciplined, self confident and astute in her conduct of the kingdom and of the intricacies of foreign affairs.

However, history remembers her not so much for her political competence and as “the sole female of the ancient world to rule alone and to play a role in Western affairs” but primarily because of her relationship with Julius Caesar (by whom she had a child) and later his protégé Mark Antony (by whom she gave birth to three more children).

While it seems that these relationships were strategic as well as personal alliances, most historians primarily emphasize Cleopatra’s charms, sensuality and the illicit nature of these personal connections. Her partnership with Mark Antony certainly made her the most influential woman of her time but it also set the stage for their tragic deaths.

Readers will appreciate that in “Cleopatra: A Life,” Stacy Schiff has expertly peeled away the myths surrounding Cleopatra’s life and death to give us a clearer, more understandable picture of the woman and the monarch.

Historical facts are given political and emotional context by this skillful biographer. And Ms. Schiff fully explains the reasons for her scholarly interpretations.

“Cleopatra: A Life” paints a remarkable portrait of a dazzling historical figure and an epic, panoramic view of her world.

Stacy Schiff is the author of “Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov),” which won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for biography and “Saint-Exupery: A Biography,” which was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. She lives in New York City.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe and Art Gallery in Welches.)

Luke and Tischer Share the Warmth
Brothers, Dad and a Pooch by Luke Will on 11/02/2011
My propane tank is empty and it’s cold in my cabin tonight. I have an electric space heater cranking warm coils down by my feet but it’s still cold in my bed, though you’d have a tough time telling Tischer that. She’s sprawled out at my knees over the top blanket facing out the dark window. 

I’ve got my back against the log headboard wishing I could keep the covers tucked up around my chin. But they keep falling and I feel less cozy. The lit lamp on my bookshelf might help the cause if the computer screen light didn’t douse its tenderness.

It’s startling to think that just a couple weeks ago I went to bed in my solo tent on the ground, unzipped and sweating on top of my 3-season sleeping bag.

Unseasonably warm, as it was, the early October mildness created a ruckus in my body’s seasonal transition. 

It was after the northern Minnesota maple trees had hit peak color and just as the birch and aspen were coming into theirs, my brothers, dad, and I slid onto the water for our annual canoe camping trip. We paddled two boats between five of us, along with six packs and a pooch. 

We were crowded but the closeness was welcoming. 

We jostled and goosed each other just like when we were growing boys. We made fun relentlessly and laughed at each other’s expenses. After a particularly hard portage of over a half-mile, we stood in a circle on the jagged rocks passing a baggy of homemade venison jerky around and sharing a jug of slowly warming beer.

On a large slab of rock that gently slides into the lake, we stood in the dark eating Spanish rice burritos and watching each other’s silhouettes, starving for the hot meal and the silence around us. They had come up from the cities and were glad to put the distractions behind them while I was glad to hear their movements and know their company was there.

Before bed that first night, I set the timer on my digital camera and opened the shutter for enough time that we could spell out words and names by waving our headlamps side by side.

We checked every picture after each attempt and giggled at the result.  

I slept like a rock that night.  On one too. But the morning chill of washing my face in the lake rinsed the stiffness away. The lake was glass and the bursting yellows in a canopy of dark green up and down the shoreline provided the most beautiful reflection in the late rising sun.

Dad and I talked about future trips and the excitement of getting out into the wilds together.  I looked at Tischer and felt the same. 

And I still do as I look at her tonight, listening to her doggy snores and watching her belly rise.

 It’s those subtleties, and the countless others that come with having company in beautiful places, that I could fill chapter after chapter of my own adventure novel.  
Now fall has hustled right along and snow is imminent. It’s been forecasted half a dozen times now but so far I’ve only seen my breath and thick frost in the morning light.
But it’s coming and I’m looking forward to it. 

When it piles high I’m going to dig a fire pit out in the yard. 
La Nina On Its Way Back by Herb Miller on 11/02/2011
October was a sharp contrast to the pleasant weather enjoyed during September. Cool, cloudy, wet weather extended throughout the first half of the month, followed by more seasonal and drier weather with periods of sunny days but cool nights.
The rain year which ended Sept. 30 recorded 103.83 inches of precipitation in Brightwood, amounting to 130 percent of the average total of 79.66 inches.

We can hold La Nina conditions responsible, and this winter is expected to repeat another La Nina event.

The National Weather Service reports continued La Nina observations and for our area, expects above average precipitation with average temperatures for November.

In November, Brightwood has an average high of 48, low of 38, and precipitation average of 11.73 inches, including 2.5 inches of snow. During the past 10 years, seven have had highs in the 70s and three in the 60s. Lows have had six drop into the 20s, two into the 30s, and two into the teens. On average, six days have lows dropping to freezing or lower.

Record high of 70 was recorded Nov. 4, 1980 and again Nov. 2, 1981. Record low of 12 was set Nov. 29, 1985, although last year a low of 13 was recorded Nov. 24. Record snowfall of 10 inches was measured Nov. 22, 1977 and the record rainfall of 5.22 inches fell only five years ago on Nov. 7, 2006.

In November, Government Camp has an average high of 41, low of 29, and a precipitation average of 12.16 inches, including 32 inches of snow. During the last eight years, highs reached into the 60s three years and the 50s in five years. Lows had one year in the single digits, four years in the teens, and three in the 20s.

A record high of 70 was recorded Nov. 3, 1981. A record low of minus-4 was set Nov. 15, 1955, but just last year a low of 2 degrees was read Nov. 24. Highest precipitation of 5.69 inches fell on Nov. 1, 1994, and a record snowfall of 20 inches was measured just last year on Nov. 18, followed five days later with another 19 inches on Nov. 23.
THE ACCIDENTAL BOOKSELLER: Characters Galore in Norway mystery by Sandra Palmer on 10/01/2011
For readers who are still lamenting the unfortunate demise of Steig Larsen, author of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” take heart. Jo Nesbo, a brilliant Norwegian crime writer is alive and well. And Jo’s plots are so elegantly crafted and his books so literary that you will rejoice in knowing that Mr. Nesbo has numerous novels already to his credit and that he is still producing them for his growing number of international fans.

I suggest that you begin with “The Redbreast” which serves as a great introduction to Oslo police detective Harry Hole, who struggles with alcoholism but who has notable tenacity, integrity and occasional brilliance in tracking down the truth. And, although the detective who struggles with an attraction for the bottle is a bit of a stereotype, Harry Hole is certainly not.

In addition, Jo Nesbo’s novel is also populated by a wealth of other characters who are so believable – even expendable – that it frees his novels to be totally surprising and unpredictable in ways that most crime series can’t even approach.

Without gratuitous gore or sexual content, “The Redbreast” sends us on a thrill ride through Harry Hole’s investigation of neo-Nazi activities that leads to his focus on the illegal importation of a rifle believed to be meant for assassination of at least one important national figure.

The novel explores in depth the links between a number of present day characters and their roles and relationships during World War II. In historical hindsight, the national leadership is viewed to have collaborated with Nazi Germany and many disgraced former soldiers remain bitter because of the wartime actions of their rulers.

In fact, they are still so filled with anger toward the government that they are looking for effective ways to take violent action in the present.

Just to make things more interesting, corruption within the police department not only thwarts Harry but also poses a very significant danger to Detective Hole and his allies as they work to track down the truth and to stop a terrifyingly methodical assassin who is hiding in plain sight.

“The Redbreast” is an intelligent, literary read with plenty of suspense for those who are seeking a quality crime thriller that is difficult to put down. I strongly recommend it to you.

Jo Nesbo is the most successful Norwegian author of all time with 9 million books sold. His books are published in 41 different languages around the world, and he is widely recognized as one of Europe’s foremost crime writers.

“The Redbreast” is the winner of the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel, and has been voted Norway’s best work of crime fiction.

(Sandy Palmer owns and manages the Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery in Welches.)
Read This Column at Your Own Risk by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2011
In this month of scary fun I have information that is just plain scary, and not fun. In the United States we consume about 400 gallons of oil per person per year for agricultural use. But that is not just for the bucolic sight of blue, green or orange tractors in the rural landscape. Many don’t realize that the manufacturing process of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides begins with oil and natural gas.

In addition, most grocery store food items have been shipped an average of 1,500 miles, some up to 3,000 miles, and that’s a pretty big chunk of oil usage as well.
Packaged foods use energy in freezing, mechanical sorting, packaging, refrigeration, and warehousing as well. We buy this. And we pay for it. The simple math is this: we expend more energy packaging and shipping food than we receive back in energy calories. The American way. Spend more than you have I guess.

After World War ll, there was a huge change in agriculture. The war left us with a surplus of ammonium nitrates. No longer used for explosives, they “exploded” on the agricultural front. They became chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This was hailed as “a good thing.” Corn and soybeans grew fast with the new chemical fertilizers, so corn and soybeans became cheap commodities. Bottom line profits reflected the nation’s growing greed.

Most corn and soybeans are now made into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and hydrogenated oils found in most, repeat most, packaged foods. Seventy percent of midwest agricultural land turned their soil over to these products. United States farmers could now produce almost 4,000 calories per person per citizen per day! Whew! Sounds good? Except that 4,000 per day is approximately twice what humans need to consume.

So print and television advertising “convinced” us that a life without soda pop and junk foods was just not appropriate. Consumption of these foods has increased by one third since 1975. Consumption of HFCS has increased by 1,000 percent. And we wonder why we can’t lose weight. For the record, soda pop and junk foods are not required foods.

The above stated information is scary enough as it is, but there’s more. Read at your own risk. Lest you think that the increase production will go to “feed the world” you should know that we actually produce enough food worldwide to sustain the up to 8 billion people projected to populate the earth by the year 2030. Yet we even now have 8 million hungry people in the world, some right here in our nation. They are underfed due to lack of money or accessibility, not because of lack of food. They are also underfed due to lack of nutrients.

Which leads me to the really scary part. Three-quarters of food for human consumption comes from only eight species, down from thousands of species we chose from in the relatively recent past. Most of that is due to the genetic modification of corn, soybeans and canola. Six companies now control 98 percent of the world’s seeds. Those companies are: Aventis, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsu, Monsanto and Syngenta (love the “sin” in the last one).

Genetic modification refers to the manipulation of the genetic material of the plant to put a bacterial gene into its makeup that allows the plant to kill the caterpillars that might attack it. The secondary role of genetic modification is to allow the plant to withstand the application of RoundUp when used on plants or soil. Oddly, or greedily, Monsanto has patented both RoundUp and the genetically modified seeds. Monsanto owns the patents on 98 percent of the world’s available seeds.

That doesn’t give me  much comfort, especially in this era of terrorism.

Fifteen countries, most of them in Europe, have banned importation of GMO foods. Australia has even banned the importation of Canadian canola oil due to the unavoidable contamination from the United states. Canada has asked for a moratorium on all GMO foods. Yet where Monsanto resides, here in the United States, we have plenty of GMO foods, if you want them. I don’t. GMO foods have been in grocery stores since 2006 without any labels to indicate their status. So you’ve already eaten them. Your best bet from here on out is to use heirloom and non-hybridized seeds in your next garden. Look for “non-GMO” on the labels of packaged foods and produce. 
     
Ask local farmers if they are using RoundUp. Stop using it yourself. Let go of the perfect landscape in favor of health for yourself and your planet.

(Dr. Victoria Larson is a Naturapothic doctor. Call for appointment: 503-515-9091.)

Luke Will and Tischer in Ontario
'Fall'ing in Line is Fine by Luke Will on 10/01/2011
Fall is letting my beard grow a little bit longer to withstand the icier breeze now coming off the lake. It’s pulling on a puffy down vest just to keep my torso a touch warmer when walking Tischer after work along the cobble beach. 

Fall is when I cover up my fading summer tan arms with a thin synthetic layer for a kayak tour. It’s when I contemplate wearing my neoprene booties but still go with Chaco’s because pretty soon the sandals will be shelved for good. It’s also when I start to wear a wool hat topped with a tassel for the sake of my cold sensitive ears.

Fall is when my lungs burn from sucking the cold morning air as I weave through the woods with a group of other runners. And it’s when I take extra care watching for roots and rocks now hiding under a thin layer of yellow aspen leaves coating the trail.

Fall is when I bring the two large pots with my small pine saplings growing in from the deck to the sunny spot on the floor next to the sliding glass door. It’s when my mower gets less attention as the lawn slowly stops growing and begins to thin. It’s when the inside warms during the day and harbors the cluster flies in the evening when the temperature drops outside. 

Fall is when I begin my annual search for an old-fashioned apple cider press to make my own cider. It’s when my thermos sees the most action, holding that piping hot cider for consumption throughout the day. 

Fall is when I hunker down in the fading evening light with a bowl of warm chili in my lap and a glass of red wine on the stool.
Fall is when every dinner is a hot meal, along with most breakfast and lunches. It’s when I remember how much I love French onion soup.
Fall is whitecaps and grey skies. It’s bursting red maple leaves along the roadside and hot tea in the morning. It’s having a hanky in my back pocket for my leaky nose and an extra layer always stashed in my bag. 

It’s doing one last round of maintenance on the hiking trails until after the snow melts. It’s watching darkness come three minutes earlier every night. It’s when the grocery store starts locking its doors on Sundays and closing just after I get off work on weekdays.

Fall is running into a stiff headwind, no matter which direction I go. It’s wet shoes and mud splatter marks up the middle of my back. It’s counting all my fleeces and convincing myself I don’t need any more. 

Fall is when I sometimes miss going back to school. It’s when I turn another year older and when I crave homecoming football games.
 
Fall is when I go to turn the heat on for the first time since last spring and realize that my propane tank is totally empty. It’s also good for outdoor fires in my chimenea on the deck and playing cribbage with a good friend in the flickering firelight.  

Fall is raking leaves and watching black spruce and tamarack’s turn bright gold. It’s when I sleep past my snooze to put off getting out of my warm bed. Fall is when I love having someone to fall asleep next to and to cuddle under a blanket.

Fall is barn dances and booyas and checking deer stands. Fall is baseball playoffs and harvest moons. It’s one last canoe country camping trip and waking up to 3 inches of fresh snow.

Fall is cold fingertips and surprise at seeing your breath. It’s cold dew and the smell of decay.  It’s bluegrass and live music resonating out onto the street. It’s hay bails and pumpkins. 

This fall is when I spontaneously crossed into Canada for a long northern backpacking weekend with a cute girl I like.

 It may be a time of ending for lots of other things but it can be a darn good time to start something new too.  

Fall is my favorite.
Get Ready for the 'Wet' by Herb Miller on 10/01/2011
September somewhat made up for the summer weather that failed to materialize earlier in the season.

Except for a week of cool weather during mid-month, the first three weeks were warm and sunny during which Brightwood recorded a high of 92, and Government Camp had a string of five days in the 80s and topped out with a high of 87.

Later in the month weather became more seasonal, which was welcomed by those fighting the forest fires – although our precipitation was still below normal.

The abbreviated summer limited Brightwood to only two days reaching into the 90s compared to an average of seven.

The National Weather Service reports a return of the La Nina conditions which are expected to exert an increasing influence on our weather during the winter months. For October, our area is expected to have above average precipitation and temperatures about normal.

During October, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 59 degrees, an average low temperature of 42 and a precipitation average of 6.23 inches.

During the last 10 years, eight October days had highs reaching at least 80, and another two had highs reaching into the 70s. The record high of 91 was set on Oct. 10, 1991 and again on Oct. 1, 1987. Low temperatures usually drop to freezing, although two of the last 10 years only made it to 33 degrees. The record low of 26 was set Oct. 31, 2003. The record October rainfall of 12.87 inches was recorded in 1996, and a record 7-inch snowfall was measured Oct. 31, 1994.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during October is 53 degrees, the average low is 36 with an average precipitation amount of 6.99 inches – including an average of 5.4 inches of snow.

During the past eight years, highs reaching the 60s or 70s are evenly divided with lows dropping into the 20s, with one exception when 19 was recorded. The record high of 83 was read Oct. 12, 1991 and also on Oct. 1, 1987. The record low of 10 was recorded Oct. 28, 1971 and again the next day on the 29th. Five of the past eight years received measurable snow, the most being a 12-inch snowfall Oct. 26, 2009. The record snowfall of 15 inches was recorded Oct. 28, 1961. The record rainfall of 4.81 inches occurred Oct. 27, 1994, followed the next day with another 3.26 inch deluge.
It's Not Fancy, But Self-sufficiency Pays Off by Victoria Larson on 09/02/2011
A year ago this month I wrote a column about downsizing, de-teching, and destressing. I moved my practice from the Schoolhouse in Sandy to my farm in Damascus. It made more sense, as patients usually only visit the doctor a few times a year and my location is easy to find. Now I have expanded my offerings to include my favorite subject, the food I’m always talking to patients about.

Times are pretty tough for most people right now. Only the elders among us can even remember the Great Depression. This one isn’t so great. In the 1930s people were in states of similar joblessness, belt-tightening and lifestyle changes. I wasn’t alive to know those struggles, but on my property is an old house that was built during that time – a three room house with an outhouse that I watch being overtaken by the ravages of time and blackberries. There was never any electricity nor running water to this house.

But Clackamas County’s oldest living apple tree is right next to the house, ancient cherry trees were in front, and both a plum and a pear tree that bear to this day. Next to the trees is a cistern, a common system of water storage during the Depression and before, now mostly misunderstood.

Nothing fancy. No air conditioning, carpets, dryers. A more primitive life, or a simpler life? Certainly less costly.The majority of the world lives in accommodations barely as good as those described above. The United States constitutes only 20 percent of the world’s population. Yet we use 67 percent of the earth’s resources (gas, oil, water, food). Sadly, we generate 75 percent of the earth’s pollution and garbage. This does not make me proud. It is not sustainable. We cannot continue this way.

I’m trying to do my part. I downsized to one location. I’ve now downsized to one phone. I do not have a computer at home and I do not own a Fax machine.

On a more personal note, I have never owned an air conditioner or a clothes dryer. For 12 years I cooked exclusively on a wood cookstove. My garbage pick up is once a month and I barely fill the smallest sized container. I quit my job with a local farmer to sustain myself by growing the majority of my own food. What I don’t grow, I purchase locally from small one-to-ten acre farms. I’m putting in a water catchment system, some solar lighting. I make my own skin care products and cleaning products. I consume less and avoid as much packaging as possible. I began recycling glass bottles in 1969 and began taking my own bags to the grocery store in 1984, after a trip to Europe, where this has been common practice forever. My family used to laugh when I brought my own containers to restaurants for my leftovers. They are no longer laughing.
Overconsumption in the United States is ghastly. Gas consumption is still high despite the fact that many of us are simply driving less, consolidating errands and using public transportation. Just driving less would solve some of our problems. Yet you might be surprised to find out that the largest use of gas in the United States comes from the transportation of our food. The average distance that grocery store food is transported is between 1,200 and 3,000 miles.

Downsize your dietary needs. Absolutely no one will die if they give up out-of-season foods. You don’t need to buy grapes from Peru or fish from China. You could wait for your own tomatoes to ripen instead of buying the ones at the farm stand that are trucked in from another area. If your tomatoes and corn aren’t ready yet, chances are the local farmer’s aren’t either.

Thankfully many grocery store foods are now labeled with the country of origin, so at least you can make a concious choice with your dollars. Not all food choices should be made solely on the parameter of cost, though that is important. For instance, bananas are a lovely food, but they don’t grow around here. If you are not buying organic bananas, you are contributing to the health destruction of children in other countries.

This became abundantly clear to me while visiting a banana plantation in Costa Rica in 1999. Airborne spraying of the plantation was routine. In the middle of the plantation was a housing development where children were playing in the street. The children had no escape from the sprays. I stopped eating bananas after that and my health has not suffered as a result. But my conscience is better knowing that I am not contributing to the health problems of those children.

For years my columns have quoted Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine.” I also like to quote Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, who’s subtitle is one of my favorite sayings: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” So along with practicing naturopathic medicine out of my home, I now have a farm-based vegetable stand called Farmacopoeia. Patients can pick up not only their pharmacy, but also the nutrient dense, biodynamically raised food I want them to eat in order to maintain their health.

I have achieved vegetable self-suffiency. I only go to the grocery store two-to-three times a month. My food costs are way down. What I don’t or cannot raise, I buy in bulk to save money and packaging.

I know not everyone can grow their own food due to decreased sunlight, limited time, or poor soils.

So while Schoolhouse Natural Health is only open by appointment, Farmacopoeia is open most days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until sold out, no appointment needed. Please call the new number (503-515-9091) for both the Schoolhouse and for Farmacopoeia in order to hear of crop availability.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”


Luke's 'Trendy' Look on the Lake
Nothing Is For Certain by Luke Will on 09/02/2011
I remember scaring a black bear out of our Alaskan kayak camp in Aialik Bay a couple years ago and being stunned when it didn’t depart down the shore or up the scree hillside – but instead slipped into the iceberg laden salt water.
 
What surprised me even more than just witnessing a large mammal swimming was how quickly it made it across our side of the bay. I didn’t realize they were such good swimmers.

And so last summer when we paddled up on a bull moose swimming in the depths of Lake Superior a quarter mile off shore, I approached it with hesitation. I had never seen a swimming moose with my own eyes and had no idea how proficient they were. On one hand, I didn’t want to stress it out such a distance from land, nor did I want it to overtake me in my boat. So from a safe range we filmed and took some photos.

Afterward, as with the bear, I figured that what I had just witnessed was quite possibly a once in a lifetime experience for me. While I should still savor everything, I should also know never to count anything out.

Late this summer I stood at a canoe launch on Brule Lake, the outer edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. With Tischer waiting to “load up” in the boat, I snapped a picture of my friend Mel standing next to the wilderness sign and saw the excitement of her first ever trip into canoe country.

At 1.5 million acres of road-less forest, this region is so saturated with lakes and rivers that the best mode of travel is canoe. In fact, this area is federally protected and barred of motors meaning paddling (and short trails connecting waterways for portaging your boat) is the only real way to get around. A true canoe country.

Tischer rode duff, sitting among our packs in the center, Mel up front letting her full peripheral take in the scene before us and I directed us to our campsite from the stern. We made camp, hung our food and with our canoe mostly empty paddled across to our first portage connecting to Lily Lake. 

After experiencing the weight of a canoe on her shoulders, we followed the short shoreline around Lily to the far side in search of another portage to another lake. As we neared it I glanced back at the other end of Lily, where we had just paddled from, and saw what looked like wings stretched out on the surface of the water. Then they shook and like a sprinkler, water flung into the air catching the low angle sunlight. It was no bird. 

I had Mel take a look but she couldn’t make it out. So we paddled closer. 

Sure enough, it was a moose in the middle of the lake. Drinking, munching, bathing, whatever it was doing. When it caught wind of us it eyed us the same way we did it. And then it took to moving on. 

I couldn’t believe it, but it started to swim out across the lake. I had Mel put her paddle down and start taking pictures while I eased us along slowly, and from a comfortable distance, after it. 

We could hear it breathing and see the incredible dexterity moose have with their ears. It would slap the water with each ear individually like a tail, ridding the pesky flies for a moment. 

Eventually, after a tour around the tree stump laden shoreline, it awkwardly stumbled onto a shallow and mucky beach. We floated in the deeper water, and again watched each other for a while. Tischer sat, shivering with excitement (or fear) and let out an intermittent growl. Mel soaked it all in.

And so did I. 

It’s not every day you get to follow around a swimming moose on a remote lake with no one else around. There’s a good chance I’ll never see that again.
 
But nothing’s for certain …
Finally Summer -- But It's Fall(ing) by Herb Miller on 09/02/2011
August restored our faith that summer didn’t desert us after all.

Abundant sunshine was the rule, including the first hot day when a high of 92 was recorded in Brightwood on the 20th. Both Government Camp and the Hoodland area recorded temperature averages nearly identical to long-term records for August.

But rainfall has been very limited this month, so we can now focus our concerns on the threat of fire danger. Precipitation during the past six weeks has amounted to .64 inches in Brightwood – only 20 percent of average.

The National Weather Service outlook for September again forecasts our area to have temperatures and precipitation levels near their long-term average.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70 degrees, an average low of 47, and 3.40 inches of precipitation.

Two of the last 10 years had highs of 90 or more, including a scorching 98 recorded Sept. 2, 2003 – but short of the record high of 102 set Sept. 2, 1988. Chances of reaching a high of 90 or more in September are about 50-50.

A record low of 32 occurred only six years ago on Sept. 29, 2005. Most years, the lowest temperature ranges in the upper 30s.

In Government Camp the average high temperature during September is 63 degrees, the average low is 42, with an average precipitation amount of 3.44 inches.

Five of the past eight years have had highs in the 80s, and the other three all had highs in the 70s. The record high of 94 occurred Sept. 4, 1988. Six of the last eight years had lows dropping to freezing, and the record low of 23 was set on Sept. 27, 1972.

A record snowfall of 3 inches was measured on Sept. 23, 1984, compared to a 0.2 inch total recorded Sept. 30, 2009, and trace amounts last year on the 26th to the 30th.
Over the long term, September snowfall averages a scant 0.2 inches.

Heal the Person, Heal the Planet by Victoria Larson on 07/31/2011
We need healthy people to heal this planet of ours. And we need a healthy planet in order to heal our people.

We and our earth are dependent on each other. Making healthy choices can not only benefit the planet we so need in order to survive, but it can also lower your grocery bill. And help you lose weight.

Regular readers know that I’m always touting organic food. The health benefits of organic food will lower your exposure to pesticides by a whopping 90 percent. That’s a pretty big health benefit.

But the environmental benefit to nonchemical agriculture is a reduction of 26 million pounds of pesticides. And that’s a big health benefit to the planet.

If you must choose between organic, and local, choose local first. By choosing locally grown produce you’ve reduced the amount of petrochemicals used to transport your produce to your “local” grocery store. The average distance that produce in most grocery stores is shipped is an astonishing 1,500 to 2,000 miles.

 Even better is to grow some produce in your own backyard. My daughter’s space is 2 feet by 5 feet next to her compost bin and in the shade most of the day. Still, she’s able to provide some lettuce, peas, onions, and carrots for her table.

Grow the easy stuff to get yourself excited about the endeavour. Beets, green beans, radishes. They all add terrific nourishment to your daily diet and you can pick them just before you start your dinner preparations for maximum freshness and flavor.

Additionally, you can learn some wild foods that in many instances are superior in taste and nutients than their cultivated counterparts. I teach a very simple class called “Eat the Weeds.” Contact me for more information.

 Bread is often on your shopping list but think about this. If you buy your bread from the store’s bakery you not only get an extremely fresh food, but you also save “earth energy” by not buying bread which has been transported to the grocery store and very possibly been frozen somewhere along the line. The paper wrapper with the fresh bread is easy to recycle, whereas the plastic wrapped, sliced bread is more likely to be thrown in the trash. Not recycled. This additional waste plastic, especially from loaves that are double-wrapped in plastic weighs almost 60,000 pounds.

That amounts to the total weight of food you’ll probably eat in your lifetime. And most non-recycled plastic eventually ends up in the ocean, where we already have a floating island of plastic the size of Texas that endangers the lives of sea turtles and other marine creatures. To say nothing of the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren.

 Do you buy any foods in bulk? Think about the good ramifications of that choice.
First of all, you may pay up to 50 percent less on the foods purchased. That’s a pretty big chunk of cash removed from the food budget. In addition, you will reduce the use of packaging (over-packaging in the U.S.) as well as the fuel it takes to transport your waste packaging to the landfill.

If every household in the nation bought at least some grocery items in bulk, we would have 10 percent less packaging to deal with. And you would end up with your excess food in your freezer for those nights when time is short.

 Though I mostly discourage canned goods unless they are home-canned (in reusable glass jars), many products are still purchased this way. One way to reduce the packaging is to consider buying larger size cans and re-packaging what you don’t use. We all have those cottage cheese containers at home that could be used a bunch of times before being recycled. Just label your leftovers and use them up rather than waste them.

Buying larger size cans of beans for instance, can often save up to 50 percent of the cost.
Every little bit helps.

Better yet, you can buy dried beans for pennies, soak them, and cook them, and freeze what you don’t use for later use.

 Dairy products provide a similar savings to the environment if purchased in larger quantities. Blocks of cheese are easy to slice and you won’t have all those plastic wrappers to deal with if you’ve chosen pre-sliced cheese.The amount of energy used to make those plastic wrappers amounts to almost 14 million gallons of gasoline.
And we wonder why the price of gas is high.

We are partly to blame with the choices we make.

Buying milk by the half gallon or gallon, depending on the size of your family, can save you money as well. The average family buys approximately 63 gallons worth of milk in any given year. By purchasing the largest size container you can handle, the energy savings could amount to enough to run your refrigerator for 36 hours.

Better yet, find a local farmer and reuse your glass jars.

 If you eat animal products, cut down on the amount. This alone will save your health and help the planet. It takes 5 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to make just one pound of beef.

If every U.S. household bought just one pound less of beef per year we would save 250 billion gallons of water. If every household bought one less pound of poultry the savings would be 66 billion gallons.

Consider using more soy products. Soybeans do not require the amount of water to produce as animal products do.

If only a quarter of Americans substituted soy for animal products once a week the savings would be equal to 10 gallons of water per person per year for the whole world.
 Seafood is as expensive as other animal sourced proteins now. Fresh fish is better tasting and better for you than canned fish. For every 10 pounds of canned fish, 20 gallons of water are used. And more than half of the fish is wasted in the process, though  it is presumably put into cat food.

The cost of just 6 ounces of canned fish is about $4 to $8 per pound, which is comparable to fresh fish. In addition to the dollar savings, if every U.S. household replaced just one can of tuna per year with the purchase of fresh fish, the water savings would be astonishing.

Fresh fruit in season is so much more nourishing than canned fruit. If you want to can your own fruit for winter months that is fine as you would be using those recyclable glass jars.

If every one of the 88 million households in the U.S. replaced just one pound of canned fruit with one pound of fresh fruit for three summer months, the energy saved would run kitchen appliances for one entire year for more than 21,000 American households.
If you don’t know how or don’t want to can your fruit, it is easy to freeze. Many fruits can simply be placed on a cookie sheet until frozen solid and then put into those containers you already have lying around.

Think of the savings in packaging, transporting, and water.

Last but not least, and perhaps the easiest to accomplish is the using of your own bags at the grocery store or farmers’ markets.

In our nation we dispose of 100 billion plastic bags per year. If you use just two fewer plastic bags per year you will throw away about 100 fewer bags in a year.

Of course you could recycle them at your grocery store but few people do.
I’ve heard every excuse in the book. with “I forget” being the most common one.
Put several cloth or even paper bags in the trunk of your car. They don’t weigh anything and won’t increase your gas consumption. If you forget them at the grocery store, leave your cart and go back to your car to get your bags.

You’ll only “forget” a few times before it becomes second nature.

Tape notes to yourself on the doorknobs and on the dashboard.

You can do your part. If it galls you to go back out to the car to get your reusable bags, remember that life is not a race. The faster you go the sooner you get to the end, but that is not the goal.

Slow down and enjoy life’s moments.

Carry this column with you to inspire you to make more thoughtful choices at the supermarket.
And feel good about yourself and the planet you are doing something about.
We’re all in this together.

Much of the above information came from a small but amazing book entitled “the green book,” by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen. I thank them for their amazing research.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, serves Damascus, Eagle Creek, Estacada, Sandy and the Mount Hood area. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Midlife Crisis? No Way by Luke Will on 07/31/2011
A few months ago a good friend of mine was told to act his age. I only learned about it from a Facebook posting and never actually talked with him about the circumstances but based on his comments he was obviously upset at the instructions offered toward him.
 
He is nearly as old as I at 29 and shares a similar disregard for the life pathway we feel society expects of us. High school, college, career, marriage, home, babies, Sunday night softball league, middle age and retirement.

Not for us.

Granted the first two of that list went down in order but by the time I had moved into the back of my truck after graduation and arrived curbside in a western Montana neighborhood for bed I had declared, unsurprisingly, to hell with the rest of that script (my seven year undergraduate career might have been a good indicator).

Speaking for myself, I am a single male who’s been around for three decades. I have a dog. After five post college years of couches, futons, spare rooms, tents and truck beds I do write a monthly rent check again, and have my own log bed and even a dresser.
 
When I moved in I was fine with just sweeping the floor. I barely understand how my toilet works (it’s indoors!) and don’t clean it very often. My walls are mostly adorned with various outdoor gear, sombreros, bug zappers, race bibs and old ski season passes.

And though I do currently hold a full time, year round position I don’t dare utter the word career. 

My position allows me to hire a staff of other guides for the season and in the spirit of camaraderie I had them all over for some summer drinks and grilling recently. When the night got late I brought out my long board skateboard and poling stick for them to try out on the smooth single lane highway behind my home. 

With a tinge of embarrassment and the sinking feeling of stupidity I found myself in the local outfitter two days later preparing to buy a new deck.

It was nobody’s fault but mine that the beloved board that I had traded for in Portland a few years ago was run over by a passing car (I still can’t believe they didn’t notice).

While I tested an appealing new ride in the parking lot a salesperson, who is also a friend, stopped me to see how I liked the one I was on. I asked her about the boards they’ve sold so far this season and she admitted that the rack typically gets ogled at by local groups of 10-year-old boys but being priced at 180 bucks apiece have been mainly purchased by “30 year old dudes having a midlife crisis.”

She quickly followed up with, “But obviously that’s not your case.”

Isn’t it?

Receding corners of hair, stiff lower backs, hanging out with people who were born in the 90s? This $3.83 a gallon isn’t nearly as cool as when I was paying 85 cents. I wasn’t riding a skateboard then but I am now. 

Does it mean I’m caught in a struggle with coming to grips or that I’m comfortable doing what pleases me despite the social norms?

I believe acting my age is a notion that is only relative to perspective. And my perspective is why care? I do what allows me to be healthy and happy. 

If it means kicking my long board to a buddies backyard party with a gal wearing a sun dress and riding a bike despite the sweat drenching humidity, then that makes me a 30 year old acting my age.

Plus it makes the price of gas irrelevant.

And I’m in full support of that.   

August Forecast; Can We Trust It? by Herb Miller on 07/31/2011
If your tomato plants aren’t anything to brag about, blame it on the weather.

So far this year, Brightwood has had only five days reaching the 80s, when the 10-year average shows a total of five days reaching the 90s or higher by this time.

Government Camp isn’t any banana belt either, recording only six days reaching as high as the 70s.

Both locations have had temperatures well below average for July. But don’t give up on summer just yet. Last summer had a cold start but August rebounded with seven days reaching 90 or higher in Brightwood.

The National Weather Service outlook for August again forecasts our area can expect temperatures and precipitation levels near their long-term averages, but that’s the same forecast they made for July.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.57 inches. Every one of the past 10 years had highs in the 90s, and one year reached 100. The all-time record high of 106 was recorded August 8, 1981. Low temperatures during the last 10 years have all ranged within 3 degrees of 51, and the record low of 36 was read August 29, 1980.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during August is 68, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.64 inches. Three of the past eight years have had highs in the 90s, and the other five all had highs in the 80s. The record high of 105 occurred August 18, 1977. Low temperature extremes have usually been in the mid to upper 30s, the exception being a 44-degree recording in 2004 and a low of 32 on August 30, 2006. Earliest date for a freezing temperature was 32 degrees only a day earlier, way back on August 29, 1980.
Nutrition is Determining Factor in Your Life by Victoria Larson on 07/02/2011
Nutrition determines how you act, how you feel, and how you look.

It is estimated by naturopathic doctors, and some allopathic doctors as well, that 85 percent of health problems are due to nutritional status.

Most Americans get their nutrition information from advertising – as well as their medical information. Maybe not the best source. It is advertising after all.

Funny thing is, Adelle Davis wrote the same thing in 1954 – that most information regarding nutrition came from advertising.

Heck, we hardly even had TVs then and certainly no computers. Now we are constantly bombarded with food images and temptations, from the actual shopping cart itself to the ad for McDs next to that computer article about heart health.

The purpose of good nutrition is to keep you healthy and prevent illness. Yet few medical schools even teach nutrition, though that is changing.

At the National College of Natural Medicine, nutrition courses were big. Medical students need to eat in order to keep those brains functioning so studies could continue. Nutrition courses were required but so popular that we all would have taken them anyway.
 
Without food our brains think more slowly and we become confused. Not a good state for the studier, or anyone else for that matter.

Most people today get their energy from sugar. Sugar is abundant and cheap. Protein is a better source of energy as it does not cause such a rapid rise in blood sugar, nor such a rapid fall (see my column, June, 2011).

But protein is less available and more expensive. So people turn to refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, energy drinks, candy) to find some energy. This causes a rapid rise in blood sugar and a subsequent rapid fall. First the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream and the insulin goes to the liver, where it is pulled out of the blood (because there is too much insulin at once) and stored as glycogen to be used later for energy. Or the insulin is stored in fat cells. Remember from the last column that fat cells are less metabolically active than other tissues. Meaning, fat cells like to just sit around whereas muscle cells like to keep humming along.

The result is fatigue, lots of fatigue – a vague symptom of something being wrong. Fatigue is one of the main reasons patients come in for office visits. More often it is women, sometimes self-diagnosed with low thyroid function. More often than not I find the problem is in the nutrition, or the lack thereof. Eighty-five percent of your problem may be your diet. A diet of steady high carbohydrates wears out the pancreas and puts you at high risk for diabetes. You can prevent this, and even reverse it in early stages, with nothing more than nutrition and exercise.

Most people eat the same thing for breakfast. Cold cereal (regular readers of my column know that I think eating the box it came in would be of more benefit), juice, toast, and coffee with sugar and cream, or worse yet, chemical cream. Blood sugar spikes, then falls rapidly and you are hungry within a couple of hours. Worse yet, you may be cranky, tired, shaky, have rapid heart beat, and headaches. When the first meal of the day includes some protein and fiber, the blood sugar does not rise so fast and falls off gradually so you have time to recognise impending hunger instead of feeling like you will faint if you don’t get food now! People who eat a high protein breakfast are better able to manage blood sugar for the entire day.

The word “protein” derives from the Greek word meaning “of first importance” and it was the first nutrient found to be essential to maintain life. Anabolic and structural proteins build connective tissue – bones, muscle tissue, the lens of the eye, antibodies to fight off infections, and hormones. Protein can be processed (deaminated) to become a source of energy. Additionally, proteins can be used as transport molecules (needed for heart health and digestion), and to maintain the pH of the blood.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, nine of which are called “essential” amino acids because they cannot be manufactured by the human body and must be consumed in the diet. Another eight amino acids are termed “conditionally essential” but these can be found in foods. It takes knowledge of nutrition in order to combine the amino acids in any given meal in order to have a full complement. Children aged 7-10 years old should consume about 28 grams of protein per day. Adult females need about 46 grams and males can safely consume about 63 grams.

Digestion breaks down proteins into the amino acids. Amino acids are abundant in egg yolks, milk and organ meats. Heart patients are told to not eat egg yolks, yet it is the yolk which contains the lecithin which breaks down cholesterol. And you hardly ever hear of people craving organ meats these days. There are other good sources of amino acids too but few people include these in their diets either. Brewer’s yeast is a good source, as are many nuts, soybeans, and wheat germ.

Vegetarians need increased amounts of proteins due to the fact that few of the foods they consume contain all of the amino acids. Combining certain foods in the same meal will provide a full complement, such as a meal containing both beans and rice. Many countries around the world where animal protein is less abundant, or seasonal, utilize this combining method. Vegetarians need to realize that not eating animal source foods does not mean they should consume lesser amounts of protein. Vegans need to work even harder to maintain protein status.

Marasmus is a diagnosis of decreased energy due to a deficiency of protein ingestion. Tissues waste away as the protein that is stored in muscle tissue is broken down to provide energy for living. Without sufficient protein, waste material cannot be removed from the body. This may result in swollen ankles, constipation, muscle wasting, and puffy bags under the eyes. This is not the only cause of these conditions and it often takes the help of a professional in order to sort through the morass of symptoms that people present them with.

Throughout history our forefathers and mothers ate huge high fiber, high carbohydrate diets during the summer months and higher protein meals in winter. Turns out the body is better able to process protein foods in the winter. This corresponds to the fact that animals were not processed for food until colder winter months could keep the food supply preserved without refrigeration. Animal source proteins don’t keep well in the warmer summer months. Isn’t it interestng how history reflects dietary changes.

In the early 1900s breakfast might have consisted of eggs (with the yolk included), milk (not pasteurized or homogonized), hot cereal and pancakes (both still containing the wheat germ of the grain), fruit pie (made with whole fruit), and possibly a meat source (sometimes even organ meat). Yet weight gain was rare as was heart disease and diabetes. Now breakfast for most people is cold cereal (the box it comes in has more fiber), toast (often made of processed white flour without the germ of the wheat), juice (which quickly raises blood sugar as whole fruit does not). We are eating less and gaining more and becoming sicker.

Can we learn from the past? Generations before worked at physically demanding jobs. Just living was a “job.” Now we have leisure time and we go to the gym to get exercise. Perhaps we need to make some nutrition and lifestyle changes in order to not fall into that 85 percent of medical problems that are really due to what we eat. Or don’t eat. This is the favorite part of my work, so I am happy to help.

Summer Vs. the Jet Stream of July by Herb Miller on 07/02/2011
For the most part, June continued the cool pattern set by previous months, although moisture has decreased considerably.

Brightwood recorded only two days reaching 80, and Government Camp failed to reach the 70s.

The National Weather Service explains that although the La Nina pattern has disappeared, the excessive precipitation and snow pack from earlier months causes increased evaporation, resulting in more cooling of the atmosphere than usually occurs. In addition, the upper-air jet stream continues to flow directly at our area bringing cool air with it from the Pacific Ocean.

Hopefully, the jet stream will shift further north and allow our normal summer weather pattern to begin.

The National Weather Service outlook for July forecasts that our area can expect temperature and precipitation levels near their long-term averages.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75 degrees, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.35 inches.

During the past 10 years, only one year failed to reach above the 80s, while five years had highs in the 90s, and four years had temperatures reaching 100 or higher. The record of 105 was recorded only five years ago on July 21, 2006.

Low temperatures have never dropped below the 40s during the last 10 years, and the record low of 37 occurred July 8, 1981.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during July is 68 degrees, the average low is 46, with an average precipitation amount of 1.08 inches.

During the past eight years, all of the years have recorded highs of 80 or more, and two years had highs in the 90s. The high of 94 recorded July 21, 2006 approached the record of 99 which was reported July 20, 1956.

Lows have never dipped below the upper 30s during the last eight years, and a noteworthy reading of 66 degrees was reported as the minimum during a warm nigh July 22, 2006. The record low of 29 was set July 2, 1962.

Luke on a training run with students
And He Doesn't Live in a PO Box by Luke Will on 07/02/2011
It was a familiar buzzing in my ear, the kind that drives me farther into my sleeping bag despite the uncomfortably humid summer night. A pesky mosquito harassed my slumber as I lay stretched out on an old slab of carpet in the back of my truck.
 
I was stashed away in the northern Wisconsin woods and getting a good taste of my previous life.

With a kayak strapped to the roof rack I had spent most of the night driving down the north shore, eventually wrapping around the southwestern tip headed for a small Lake Superior beach town. It was after midnight when the engine finally turned off and I crawled into my truck bed (room) surrounded by duffels of paddling gear and a small cooler. 

Parked a few miles inland and in the midst of a six-day coastal kayaking course, my eyes shot open as I struggled to convince myself that it would be worth the effort to track down and squash the one blood sucker sharing space with me. And when I did kill the headlamp and only the sound of crickets echoed through my topper windows, I was quickly asleep.

For the next six days I’d wake up stiff, drop the tailgate and pull on damp clothes. After spending all day in my kayak along with other skilled vagabonds, we’d drape our soaked paddling gear over every rack and side mirror available, crack a beer and watch the sun set. 

Ah, just like old times.

A few weeks before and 300 miles to the west as I was cruising across central Minnesota, I edged up to 70 mph down a smooth single lane highway with my left arm burning in the sunlight.  
 
Moments later as the trooper asked me for my address, I started to rattle off a PO Box number.  When she interrupted me with “You don’t live in a PO Box!”  I quickly and annoyingly agreed and instinctively started to say that she was looking at my home.

I swallowed hard and changed my story. After confidently explaining why my drivers license didn’t match my truck plates and why neither correlated to the state we were in she asked me when I was going to get a “real job.” 

For a moment I was stunned.  And just as it started to occur to her that she had offended me I admitted that I do actually have a “real job.” 

Yikes.

Since taking my current position this past February I have been inundated with budgets, hiring staff, creating training lists, verifying waivers, drafting lesson plans and scheduling programs.

In that time I have sat in front of a computer more than I’d willingly admit – even after a few beers. 

Also in that time I have been married to my job (or at least it’s felt that way), thinking about it on my way home, while cooking dinner and running with the pooch.

Suddenly that flavor of my 20s was long gone. Funny how little symbolism there actually was in turning 30, turns out it was actual.

But for the last month as I’ve toured around the region for Wilderness First Responder trainings, American Canoe Association courses, and Outdoor Expo gatherings, I’ve been back in the mix with those like-minded hoodlums I so easily and eagerly associate with.  
Such an inspiring bunch that I am proud to identify with. It was about time I got back to being me, even if for a brief stint. Almost makes me want to leave the screen door open on my cabin tonight just to hear the annoying buzz in my ear.

But then I think twice.  I’ve got work tomorrow.
Weighting The Woes Of Weight Management by Victoria Larson on 06/02/2011
Last column I reported that only 50 percent of people in the United States know where their adrenals live. Other than the heart and the stomach (ironic, isn’t it?) half of the population doesn’t know where their organs are, much less how they function.

Several organ systems work in conjunction to keep you at a healthy body weight. With 60 percent of Americans considered to be overweight, perhaps we should get to know our physical selves a little better. And for the record, 10 pounds over the insurance actuarial tables is considered overweight. And those numbers have been raised within the last 10 years.

But wait, the World Health Association claims that anything less than 2,200 calories a day is considered starvation!

Many people try (and try and try again) to limit their calorie consumption to 1,200 calories per day. That may cause some weight loss but it is loss of both fat and muscle tissue. The thing is, muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat cells. So the loss of muscle will also make you more tired – and cranky and less likely to get up off the couch. So you get depressed, go back to your old way of eating, and regain the weight.
Each time you do this it will be even more difficult to lose weight.
 
You MUST stop dieting. Period. You need to make changes that are permanent. It is one whole body system. The only one you’ll get in this lifetime. Treat yourself with care. Learn a little about your body and its functioning so you can boost your metabolism and achieve permanent results.

So you can throw away those “fat clothes” forever.

The liver/gallbladder system is an important part of weight management. If the liver is sluggish due to too many toxins or an unhealthy lifestyle, it will shunt those toxins to the fat cells of your body. This is a self-protective survival mechanism to keep the toxins from other parts of your body, such as the brain or the thyroid gland. But toxins stored in fat cells mean losing fat is extremely difficult. Protecting the thyroid gland is good as it helps to maintain a healthy metabolism, but a highly functioning liver is important for maintaining an efficient metabolism as well.

The adrenals play a very big role in weight gain or loss. The adrenals are two small organs that lie atop your kidneys. When the adrenals are stressed by a high-carbohydrate, high sugar diet (the Standard American Diet) they are less able to function properly. The biggest stressors to the adrenals are alcohol, colas and coffee, dieting, tobacco, and stress, especially chronic stress. In response to the high sugar, high carb intake of most Americans, the adrenals will pump out adrenalin to compensate for the post-sugar drop in blood glucose.

Balancing blood sugar is not only important in managing weight, but also in order to avoid cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The digestion/elimination pathway needs to be highly functioning for weight management. Are digestive enzymes needed? We should be like the dogs. They eat, they go out to poop. Very efficient digesters. Yet humans go for days or weeks without a bowel movement and are told that’s OK. If you do not eliminate daily, you are considered to be constipated – with a backed up, toxic liver. 

Most, albeit all, of us need to detox. It’s a pretty toxic world out there, in more ways than one.

Beginning a lifelong weight management program should start with a one-to-three week detoxification – preferably with the guidance of a professional as staying on a detox program is difficult enough as it is that going it alone may not be the best choice.

We all have that stomach/heart connection. Food equates with love in our world. As babies, to eat, or not to eat, is our first encounter with autonomy. Mommy fed us and that meant we were loved.

We also have a stomach/brain connection. We are bombarded with a myriad of food images on the shopping cart, billboard, computer screen. One of the most offensive intrusions I have seen was a computer report on heart health, with an ad for McDonalds right next to it.

Now what brain didn’t make that connection.

The mind/body connection is extremely sensitive when it comes to managing your weight for a lifetime. Do you have a spiritual connection? Are your relationships healthy? Do you have balance in your life? Stuff happens, but can you find some joy? How well do you cope with stress? Getting enough sleep is extremely important as sleep deprivation alone increases appetite.

Most of us need to stop buying into the fads and stick with the tried and true. Eat more nutrient dense foods. Half of your plate should be covered with vegetables. Not America’s favorite corn or beans (they are not nutrient dense enough and corn runs the probability of being genetically modified).

Good quality proteins from bean sources are the best choices, some animal protein, protein powders, or eggs can fill one fourth of your plate. The last fourth could consist of grains, preferably rice, that few are allergic to.

And don’t forget the fats. The good ones that you’ve previously been told are not good for you. The good fats include avocados, nuts and nut butters (not peanut butter), and flax or fish oils. I have a delicious lemon-flavored fish oil that I make into a salad dressing.

There are a lot of aspects to managing your weight for a lifetime but they are all do-able. If it seems too complicated or overwhelming, remember that’s what I’m here for. To help you find balance and vitality and health.

For life.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, serves Damascus, Eagle Creek, Estacada, Sandy and the Mount Hood area. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Chilly July On Tap by Herb Miller on 06/02/2011
Weather during the last week of April made significant changes to data shown in last month’s column. Rainfall in Brightwood added more than 3 inches, making a record-breaking total of 16.10 inches – more than double the normal average of 7.31 inches.
An even greater increase occurred in Government Camp where a precipitation total of 14.24 inches was measured, compared to a normal 7.21 inches. Additional snowfall ended the month with a total of 66.5 inches, compared to an average of 25 inches.
The cool temperatures continued into May, although precipitation tapered off considerably. Only five of the first 25 days failed to record measurable precipitation in Brightwood, but most days received only light amounts. Cloudy skies kept temperatures down, and only three days reached into the 70s in Brightwood. Government Camp had only a hand full of days reaching into the 50s, but precipitation was less than average.
The National Weather Service observes significant changes occurring in the tropical Pacific with the La Nina pattern becoming history. But the outlook for June in our area continues to expect cooler than average weather. The heavy snowpack plus ample soil moisture gets the blame for holding down our temperatures. Precipitation is expected to be about average.
During June, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 68, an average low of 48, and a precipitation average of 4.23 inches. During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the 90s or higher four times, including two years that reached 100.
Five other years had highs in the 80s, and only one year failed to get above the 70s.
The record high of 100 was recorded both on June 26, 2006 and June 28, 2008. Lowest temperatures are in the upper 30s or low 40s. Many of you will recall the cool, wet June last year. The precipitation total of 9.03 inches was the second wettest total in more than 30 years – exceeded only by the 11.10 inches recorded in 1981.
In Government Camp, the average high temperature during June is 50 degrees, the average low is 41, with an average precipitation amount of 3.88 inches, including 0.6 inches of snow. During the past eight years, only one year failed to reach a high above the 60s. Four years got into the 80s, and three into the 70s. The record high of 92 was recorded June 17, 1961, and the record low of 23 came on June 3, 1963.
Most snowfall was 6 inches measured June 5, 1995, although a 3-inch total was recorded just three years ago on June 10, 2008. Latest snowfall was a 2-inch total that fell June 23, 1993.
A Quick Lesson About Health 'Illliteracy' by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2011
Though things are changing in schools and with the increase in home schooling, it turns out that currently only 50 percent of adults in the United States can even find the location of various organs inside their own bodies.

Oh, sure, everyone who ever said the Pledge of Allegiance knows where their heart is located. But do you know where your liver lives? Or those important adrenals? Can you differentiate the locations of the thymus and the thyroid gland? And what about the apparently unnecessary gallbladder?

I’m being facetious of course. Personally I do think the gallbladder is important. Somebody more important than you and I put it there. Probably for a reason, I’m guessing.

So along comes a surgeon who doesn’t believe in the innate healing ability of the body to, with help, heal itself. The temptation to do a quick and relatively “safe” surgery may just be too much. Gone is your gallbladder.

For the record, your gallbladder lives under your rib cage on the right side. Press your finger about midway along the lowest rib. Poke around a little. Does it hurt there? Have you ever felt pain there? You may have a gallbladder issue.

But before you go online and find out about the famous “gallbladder flush” I want to warn you to not do it. Not without being under the care of a Naturopathic physician anyway.

A long, long time ago when the United States was a more healthy nation, the gallbladder flush may have been effective. Now it could send you to the hospital in excruciating pain and ultimately lead to having your gallbladder removed anyway.

If the gallbladder flush used to be a common cleanse, why isn’t it now? Americans in general are so gunked up that we ALL have sludge in our gallbladders and most people have gallstones. It is assumed by most practitioners that if you are “fat, female, and over forty” you have gallbladder issues.

These are not my words, but I assume every female over 30 has gallstones no matter what her girth. It has become that common due to poor diet.

In our country today it is hard to get a good diet. We assume that grocery shelves hold foods that are safe to eat. News stories over the last few years have shown that to not always be true.

The FDA does not have the money nor the staffing to even check many of the so-called foods on those shelves. If you eat foods from grocery shelves, you have already eaten genetically modified foods (GMO) as our government and the FDA have allowed genetically modified foods to be on the shelves for more than 17 years already. Some people want those foods to at the very least be labelled as such. Some just plain don’t want those foods (or seeds or plants) around.

The arguments against genetically modified foods include the concern that they are not tested on humans (well, I guess we’ve begun that part), could lead to non-viable plant sources of nutrition, and may be a health concern for generations beyond our own.

The arguments include the need to continue to feed the world. This argument is mostly presented by Monsanto who makes the seeds that are genetically modified to resist the Round-Up (which they also make) so that big farms can spray their fields for weeds and the seeds and plants they grow will not succumb to the herbicide.

In medicine we call this a feedback loop.

In life we call this dangerous.

A medical doctor, who shall remain unnamed, has been quoted as saying “whether or not heart patients can identify where their heart is, is not so important … as long as they know which medicines to take.”

This man does not believe he can help you in any way except with drugs and surgery. Drugs and surgery might be a viable choice for those who are in the throes of imminent death, certainly, but what could you do for yourself right now?

If you have had eight years of training on all the parts of your body, dissected a human body, and done years of research papers for a grade, then you probably know where all the organs in your body are. That’s a good start. But then in order to treat yourself you would have to know the entire field of nutrition, which is constantly changing, and then there’s exercise physiology.

And what if you actually believe that the mind lives in the body. You know, that mind-body connection thing.

Are we getting smarter about our bodies? Over a hundred years ago, cancer was the tenth leading cause of death. Now it accounts for 20 percent of all deaths in the United States.

Diabetes is expected to double in the next 50 years.

Breast cancer was rare a hundred years ago, but now it strikes women at the rate of 1:3.
It looks rather bleak doesn’t it. We’re not sounding so smart now are we?

The body is inherently designed to be healthy. Not a state of homeostasis (static) but homeodynamic (changing status) to maintain health. Even at rest your body performs trillions of functions, some within each miniscule cell. Not a machine but an amazing living thing.

And what do we do but throw toxins at ourselves and hope for the best.
That just isn’t going to work folks. It’s just not.

We are a lazy nation. Just do what the media tells you to (“ask your doctor if this drug is right for you”). We ignore the consequences of our choices. If you can take care of your own health, why are you on so many drugs? Why are you overweight? Why do you awaken not feeling refreshed? Why are you depressed? Why no energy?

The list goes on and you know who you are. Can you do this without help?

Most Naturopathic doctors believe that the underlying cause of all disease is nutritional deficiency.

Do you know how to eat in the face of all the stuff assaulting you at the grocery store? If you did, maybe you wouldn’t have to come in for the main complaints of “brain-fog,” fatigue, and stress/depression.

If only 50 percent of us know where our body organs reside, then how can people be expected to know how to eat.

It may take some guidance. And a lot of time.

Give yourself the time to learn more about yourself and how to take care of this one life you have to live.

A Different Kind of Marathon by Luke Will on 05/01/2011
I showed up to our table at the Midwest Mountaineering Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo last weekend and waiting for me were two sombreros with the word “tequila” painted on the front of each. Of course there were.

As much as this expo is geared for the outdoor enthusiastic public, it is equally suited as a reunion for those of us in the outdoor recreation field. Within this group of professionals I am not preceded by a reputation having anything to do with tequila though. Nevertheless, I assumed one of my peers knew where my booth was located and left them for me. Presumably a straw hat because the nearest Beer Guzzler Helmet store was sold out.

When the usual suspects didn’t check out and no one came to claim them, I slid one onto my noggin. I’m just surprised that no one rushed up and offered me a nip off a flask.

It’s a good thing that I started with two because for reasons I’ll let you assume, somewhere later that night I lost the first one. 

The next morning, back at the booth for another day of pitching guided tours, I snatched the second one from under the table. It was a fun weekend.

I bring this up only because I have taken notice of the vast differences in my marathon training this year compared to a year ago. It’s not for lack of effort, but more the significant increase in distraction and temptation and my inability to avoid them.

Last spring, I missed only five or six running days throughout an 18-week training schedule. I did hill workouts, ran tempo and pace runs, got my long runs in, and stretched more than I ever have before. I gave up beer for almost the whole duration (other than a week-long road trip out to the Arcata, California area – the breweries!) and replenished my proteins and electrolytes after each workout.

When race day came I felt strong and healthy, ready to challenge my eight-minute mile marathon goal.

And only because of my focus and dedication.

Or so I thought.

Halfway through the same intermediate training schedule this year, I’ve been running irregularly at best.

Some of those include the first treadmill miles of my life. And still my pace range is between 7:20 and 8:30 a mile, routinely surprising me post run when I check my time.
My strides are long and powerful, and though I can tell my overall endurance strength isn’t there yet, I am hesitantly reassured with my condition.

It could be because my cardio threshold is already higher this year due to the amount of Nordic skiing I did over the winter or because my resume for the past year includes that first marathon last June and a kayaking expedition.  But still, my motivation seems to be staggering.

I’ve been trying to assess why my approach is different this time around.
 
The variables have changed.

I now live on the edge of a small town with little traffic and few other runners to train with.

Last year I was in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, people everywhere (think passive spectators on my training runs, at least in my mind) and my brother who was training for the same race. 

I had many different routes to run in the cities; this year I essentially have one road cutting through the county. Last year was warmer, sunnier and calmer and I ran without a shirt most of the time. 

This year so far has been cold and rainy with a wind whipping off the Lake. I haven’t even had shorts on yet.

And that brings me back to the libations. Let’s just say it hasn’t been so black and white this training season.

I mean, last spring I never once adorned a wide brimmed hat with the whiff of tequila hanging from its straw fibers.

It was just me and my running shoes back then. 

At least until I crossed the finish line.
April Already the Wettest on Record by Herb Miller on 05/01/2011
Mother Nature played an April Fool’s joke when the month started with a balmy 62 degrees in Brightwood, leading to hopes that spring was on the way.

Any such hopes were abruptly dashed with a return of the familiar cool, wet pattern, except for the 22nd and 23rd which gave us another taste of spring. This April is in contention to break the record for having the lowest average high temperature in more than 30 years, and has already set a record for precipitation and we’re still counting. Government Camp is continuing to add to its snow depth, with a 13-inch total on the 3rd and 9 inches on the 7th. But indications are becoming encouraging that the cool, wet pattern is coming to an end and more seasonal weather is on the way.

Again, the National Weather Service expects our area to be colder and wetter than average for May. But this is based on the expectation the heavy precipitation and colder than average temperatures of earlier months will delay moderating our weather a bit. The La Nino pattern has weakened considerably and is not expected to be an influence.
Looking ahead, they predict our summer months to have temperatures and precipitation about on average.

In May, the Hoodland area has an average high of 63, an average low of 43 with a precipitation average of 5.80 inches. During the last 10 years, there were four that had a high of 90 or higher, four reached into the 80s and only two failed to get above the 70s. The record high of 99 was set May 6, 1987 and the record low of 29 was set May 2, 2006. Chances are 50-50 there will be at least one day dropping to freezing – the latest date being May 20. Last year, May set two records. The precipitation total of 10.32 inches set a record extending beyond the past 30 years, and the 2-inch snowfall measured May 5 was the latest measurable snowfall.

During May, Government Camp has an average high of 53, low of 35, and precipitation average of 5.24 inches, including 6 inches of snow. During the past eight years, only two failed to have a high above the 60s, four years had highs in the 70s and two reached 80 or above. Without exception, every year had at least one low temperature dropping down to freezing or lower, with most years reaching into the 20s. The record high of 93 was set May 31, 1986, and the record low of 18 was established May 1, 1954. Record snowfall is 13 inches measured May 11, 2000.
Spring Shuns Minnesota by Luke Will on 04/02/2011
“Is it spring yet?” I say aloud to myself standing in a vacant parking lot between Highway 61 and the shoreline. Next to my truck with a dripping kayak at my feet, I have some fast bluegrass playing out through the passenger window while I peel off the top half of my wetsuit.

It’s 10 degrees above freezing but with the sun setting on a cloudless day and Lake Superior gently sloshing on the cobbles, the two mile paddle I just finished has me convinced that the warm season is at the door. Maybe it’s not breaking down the hinges but it’s certainly on the welcome mat.

The very next day, a buddy and I are standing on the thin shoulder of Cook County Road 7 behind my truck, which is parked more in the snow bank than on pavement. While we zip our packs shut and buckle our touring bindings I make Tischer wait on the tailgate as a few cars speed by. 

She is shivering with excitement, waiting to leap into the woods.

Beyond the snow bank is someone’s property, but to the right of that and past the guardrail is a smooth white slope down into Cut Face Creek. From here, a mile and a half from the lake, it drops more than 400 feet back down to the shore where Nate’s vehicle is waiting for us. 

It looks much more appealing to us than heading further inland where it mellows and sprawls into shrubbery filled flats.

The previous weeks have been mixed with rain, wind and sunshine. Knowing this, our better judgment is that we can stick a fork in stream skiing for the season.
However, we crave one more descent.

After skidding down the embankment and spending 20 minutes climbing over tree limbs and trunks, the first bit of slush appears in our ski tracks. As I watch Nate pull himself out of the crater he’s just made following a crust breaking crash, I wonder again to myself, “Is this spring?”

This question becomes more legit a few more stream bends down when we encounter open water, the beginning of a trend. 

As we quickly scamper across patches of 4-6 inch deep slush and hope that our old school leather backcountry boots and gaiters keep out the cold river, it is apparent that the warmth and sun have been reaching into these narrow canyons. Tischer wades through, the chilly brown water reaching halfway up her four legs, without even a thought.

On the third day, I have to work. It’s an exciting day with the hype of a huge winter storm that much of Minnesota is bracing for.  It ends up developing in areas to the south but spares us the precipitation, instead thrashing the north shore with constant winds and big gusts. And when wind blows across Lake Superior, it means good surf on the receiving shoreline – and this day we shall receive.

I hurry home to let Tischer out and meet Nate on my deck. It’s another bluebird day, though the sun is getting low in the sky, and we gear up in our paddling clothes. Eight miles down from my place is a fantastic surf break at Mile Marker 121. As we pull up we see three other surfers already paddling out. They turn out to be from Thunder Bay, Ontario, just down for the afternoon to partake in the stellar conditions.
 
The surf is big in the middle, rolling in tall and smooth. Some of the waves close out altogether but some curl steadily to one side or the other. I watch the Canadians catch a few good rides and also get pummeled by a couple frothy explosions. 

Nate and I take turns surfing his white water kayak as the sun sets. If it weren’t for the ice and snow on shore, looking down the line into the golden reflection of surf-able waves the scene appears tropical. 

It’s then, though, standing on the frozen cobbles as darkness creeps in, that the cold sinks deep into my bones.
 
To avoid soaking his seats we drive home with the windows down hoping to keep our wetsuits frozen. At home we stand in my kitchen prying pieces of gear off and throwing them into my shower to drip dry. 

Is this spring?  Does it matter?  

(Follow Luke Will’s travels on lucaswill.com, or on his Web site at www.superiordream.com.)
Snoring Is The Sign Of A Seasoned Journalist by Ned Hickson on 04/02/2011
Every journalist has a routine.

For example, I always write my column early in the morning.

The earlier the better.

That’s because, generally speaking, I’m not awake yet.

Sure, I may be drinking coffee and typing, but if you were to monitor my brain activity, it would register somewhere between an earthworm and the average American watching “Dancing With the Stars.”

Admittedly, my brain doesn’t open for business until about 10 a.m. By then, I’ve been at the keyboard for three or four hours with no real memory of what I’ve been writing.
I assure my editor this unique quirk is the sign of a seasoned professional.

And he assures me the reason we need to keep replacing my keyboard is because, at least once a month, he finds me facedown drooling on the return key.

That may be true, but I tend to do my best work under pressure. And there’s nothing like the pressure of trying to finish a column before saliva short-circuits your keyboard.
In addition to a lack of cognizance, I also prefer writing early in the morning because there aren’t any distractions, like … oh, I don’t know … say, being blinded by a crazed fly.

The truth is, this column was going to be a stunning piece of social commentary. I had planned to utilize all the tools I’ve acquired as a columnist (namely, spell-check and the “delete” button, assuming it hasn’t been drooled on) to discuss a little-known but steadily growing segment of the voting population:

Chihuahuas who have mistakenly been issued voter registration cards in Florida.
Anyone who has written Pulitzer Prize-winning material will tell you it takes an incredible amount of concentration and skill to produce work of such significance.

I know.

As a recipient of the Putziler Prize for “Most Consistent Use of Spelling Errors” in 1999, I was, quite literally, only a few scrambled letters away from a Pulitzer myself.

In keeping with that standard, I should’ve been able to finish my Chihuahua column in spite of being the unwitting target of a psychopathic fly.

I have no excuse other than to say, before this experience, I would’ve never considered sealing up my cubicle and installing an air-lock door complete with retinal scanner and emergency fly swatter.

It actually started out like any other annoying man-vs-fly situation.

Fly lands on hand.

Hand shoos fly away.

Then, and without warning:

Fly attacks eyeball.

Things immediately moved into the realm of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, complete with — I must admit — screaming that would’ve frightened Janet Leigh.

In all fairness, I now had only ONE good eye, which limited my peripheral vision and put me at a distinct disadvantage to the fly which, as we all know, has enough eyes to see in all directions at once, including behind, which is the direction I happened to be running from.

Yes, I probably should have stood my ground.

And if he hadn’t blinded my other eye, I probably would have.

However, as I stood there swinging blindly at the fly with a rolled up magazine, I realized two important things precisely in this order:

1) I looked like a Star Wars fanatic pretending to be in Jedi training.
2) Someone could walk through the door at any minute.

Because of this, the Pulitzer Prize committee will have to wait.

In the meantime, I still have a chance at another Putziler, depending on how I spelled Chihuahua.

(You can write Ned Hickson at nhickson@the siuslawnews.com or at Siuslaw News at PO Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.)
Try To Cope, But Be Very Careful by Victoria Larson on 04/02/2011
The “experts” tell us what is safe and what isn’t. Then the experts disagree. Or they change their minds. Or things around them change. Some people just give up listening. Some do so much research they drive themselves crazy. The rest of us just try to cope the best we can with the information we choose to let enter our realm.

Toxic exposures occur. I don’t care where you live or what you do, you are exposed to toxins. We are all exposed to toxins. Not just the commonly-heard-of ones like asbestos, benzenes, cigarette smoke, ethanol, formaldehydes, hair spray resins, mercury, solvents, and vinyl chloride, but the less common sources like bromides, detergents, industrial chemicals, toluene, and xylene. And then there are the electrical devices like cell phones, microwaves, and high tension power lines. Include those computers you love to sit at, electric blankets you love to sleep under, and the television you love to watch and we have toxic exposures galore.

How are you dealing with them? Since the devastating disaster in Japan, nuclear fallout has entered the atmosphere. That is the whole atmosphere of our teeny earth. Not a panic for us in the northwest, but a threat nonetheless. Do you think radiation is a threat to you? Have you tested your house for radon exposure? Have you seen the famous clip of cell phones in a circle cooking popcorn? Can you hear the buzz of high tension power lines?

As a kid we always got a kick out of my dad being a true scrounger. He’d bring home giant wooden boxes from his work at an automotive shop and my brother and I would partially dismantle them to make forts or playhouses or boats that never floated. We had a ball with that. My dad would bring home old packing scales that no one wanted when newer-and-better ones came along and we’d pretend to weigh every kid in the neighborhood.

When I was in high school he came home with a Geiger counter and a piece of uranium in a glass canning jar. We’d all handle the rock and move it by the Geiger counter and listen to the rock-that-clicked. Most entertaining. The neighbors would come to see. We were a hit in the neighborhood. I have no idea what happened to all of that stuff but it probably went to the dump. Garage sales were not in vogue then and the dump was free.

While I was still in high school, my mother got breast cancer. She died when she was only 51 years old. When I was in my early thirties, my father died of leukemia. They both smoked and drank as was the custom of their generation. But generally in my family, longevity is the norm. The aunt who inspired me to go to medical school late in life lived to be 96 and never took so much as an aspirin in her life. Both sides of the family exhibited longevity. Aunts and uncles living well into their late eighties. And I do mean living well. Not incapacitated in any way but living normal, vibrant lives. Was my parents’ radiation exposure connected in some way to their early deaths?

Have I convinced you to be careful? Be very, very careful. Iodine neutralizes nuclear fallout and protects the thyroid gland, which is especially sensitive to nuclear fallout as well as many other toxins. Daily dosing is a good idea. I have this available as well as other sources including kelp, which is very high in iodine, fish oils (some are lemon flavored and make a lovely salad dressing).

It has been a constant source of interest to me that many, many patients come in self-diagnosed with hypothyroid. True, this is a fairly common condition though it can present with similar symptoms to adrenal stress, food allergies and menopause symptoms. It is best diagnosed by the doctor, rather than the Internet. Yet, not one self-diagnosed patient asks how she, or occasionally he, ended up with a low functioning thyroid.

Remember, the thyroid gland is very sensitive to toxic exposure.

Children and elders are particularly at risk. I cannot see a child in those shoes with flashing lights without informing the parent that every time the child takes a step, mercury from the batteries wafts up into the air the child breathes. Most parents thank me and say they will get rid of the shoes. Don’t sleep with your cell phone next to your head. Try not to use the microwave often and never microwave anything in plastic containers, especially for babies. Do not use insecticides, pesticides, or eat genetically modified foods. Garden with only organic fertilizer, plants, and seeds.

Pay attention to your health.  Eat well, sleep well, and eliminate well to get the toxins out of you. Take Prolamine Iodine, kelp, and fish oils. Eat lots of root vegetables and cilantro. Drink plenty of water. If you believe me, contact me for help. If not, good luck to you. But we all need to detox, detox, detox!

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Fingers Crossed On La Nina Exit by Herb Miller on 04/02/2011
The last week of February brought an arctic air mass which blanketed Brightwood with a total of 13 inches of snow, and 37 inches in Government Camp. Another 3.5 inches fell in Brightwood March 1 and 18 inches in Government Camp before temperatures moderated, although remaining well below average.

March of 2009 was also unseasonably cold and snowy. That year, Brightwood received 8.5 inches of snow from the 6th through the 10th, and Government Camp got 37 inches. A whopping total of 111 inches fell for the month, including an 18-inch snowfall on the 28th in Government Camp.

So comparatively speaking, the weather hasn’t been that noteworthy, although the first warm day of spring has been severely delayed.

A thunderstorm the afternoon of the 13th was accompanied by wind storms that caused widespread power outages throughout the Hoodland and valley areas lasting several hours. Despite the damage, maximum wind speeds in our area were relatively moderate, recording speeds of 33, 36 and 13 mph at Timberline, Skibowl and Brightwood, respectively.

Predictably, the National Weather Service expects our area to be colder and wetter than average for April. The persistent La Nina pattern gets the blame, although there are guarded hopes it will disappear in time to allow for an average summer weather pattern.
In April, the Hoodland area has an average high of 55, low of 37, with 7.31 inches of precipitation, and 0.9 inches of snow. Chances of reaching a high of at least 70 are 6 out of 10 and a high of 80 or higher occurred during three of the last 10 years. Only 2003 failed to get above 60. The record high for April was 90 in 1987. Without fail, at least one day had a freezing temperature during the last 10 years and the record low of 26 was April 12, 1978. The most April snowfall was 6 inches in 1982, but 5.5 inches was measured in 2008. Latest measurable snowfall was a 2-inch amount that fell last year on May 5.

In April, Government Camp has an average high of 45, low of 30, and 7.21 inches of precipitation including 25 inches of snow. Years with high temperatures reaching into the 60s are about evenly divided with those reaching into the 70s. Only 2003 failed to get out of the 50s. The record high of 80 was read April 28 and 29, 1987. Lows in the 20s occur during most years, with the record low of 12 degrees set April 13, 1968. Record snowfall was 17 inches measured on April 12, 1981.
How To Think Straight by Victoria Larson on 03/03/2011
 I should be the one to tell you what to think. In fact, studies show that when someone hears something they don’t want to hear, they literally do not hear it. The part of their brain that should be listening just shuts down.

Just goes to show that arguing with spouses, teenagers, or toddlers doesn’t do any good whatsoever.

However, I can offer some help with how to think — how to think straight that is. Not since my column on vinegar have I had such a response as I have to the column about de-teching and de-stressing (January 2011, Mountain Times). Oddly, though most people say they really liked what I said in that column, the next thing they say is they “can’t do it.”

But of course you can de-tech in order to de-stress. Stress is really what brings most patients to the doctor, though it may be disguised as back pain, headache, or pre-menstrual tension, it is really just stress. Anxiety, depression and stress are rampant in today’s society and show little signs of decreasing. George Orwell wrote the book 1984 where he predicted we would be imprisoned by “Big Brother.” Aldous Huxley suggested/predicted that we’d be a nation consumed with inanity. Now we watch “Big Brother.”

Perhaps we’ve become a nation distracted by trivia. I’ve heard so many of you say you cannot get rid of your fill-in-the-blank, be it Blackberry, iPod, cellphone, computer, TV, or whatever other electronic devices you might have in your life. And yes, keeping in touch with your cousins, friends, kids, life partner can be important, but how many use the medium, whichever one, to talk about getting their tires rotated or how to cook potatoes. In this fast paced world few people care when you get your tires rotated. And almost everyone has at least one cookbook, or mother, who can tell them how to cook potatoes.

We’re so disconnected we make the small things important. We are so addicted we check our texts during church and in the middle of the night.

We live in a world of perpetual distraction. Not a moment’s peace. Serious news programs give us information about who’s leaving whom in Hollywood. Is this important in your life? Should it be?

We need to get a perspective on the decent use of electronic devices and not be constantly inundated with too much of “the little stuff” that really isn’t important.

Shut off your devices and you might no longer lament that there aren’t enough hours in the day. We have the same number of hours in our days as they did a hundred years ago. And they got up at dawn, lit the wood stove, milked the cows, fed the pigs, gathered the eggs, ate a huge breakfast and washed all those dishes by hand. The days continued with lots of life-giving chores and the day still ended with reading, sewing, and a repeat of morning chores.

Yet, there was time for church socials and barn raisings and good old visiting with neighbors. And people slept 10 hours a night, a healing practice in and of itself.
Not only are our expensive devices distracting us to death (read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman), they lead to anxiety and depression and stress. And stress leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hormone imbalances, inflammation, obesity, and an early grave. Not where I want to be headed. What’s even worse is that the children living today are not expected to live as long as the adults reading this column hope to. That’s pretty sad, especially if you know any of those younger people.
There is a 20 percent rise in anxiety and depression in children today. The stress level is induced by exposure to squabbling parents, news programs, video games that teach fight or flight but not how to think things through. Young people of all ages are exposed to bullying which leads to difficulty in social situations, learning problems, fear, anxiety, increased risk of drug abuse or addictions, and morbidity.

Children between the ages of two and five years old experience separation anxiety, a normal part of learning about the real world around them. But should children be fearful all the time?

Teens and adults who text know that what they say could be stored or forwarded. Who do you trust, how safe can that feel. Children grow up in families where one partner constantly threatens to divorce or leave the other. Repeated threats like that are considered emotional abuse. How safe can that feel to the spouse or the children, be they almost grown or younger. Our society is angry and stressed.

If faced with the proverbial tiger, you want your fight-or-flight system to work quickly. Video games have that fast response requirement. But human communication takes time. It takes face-to-face so that you don’t miss the clues of body language and tone of voice.

It is proven the 90 percent of human communication is non-verbal. Doesn’t sound like cell phones or texting is going to work so well there. Yet a survey of adolescents found that the one thing they most “couldn’t live without” the was their cellphone. The ubiquitous cellphone, Internet, etc. leads to addictive behaviors that harm all involved.
The most pressing problems in our world today will involve some really creative thinking. Clear thinking. Brain-storming even. Yet I hear people constantly tell me that they just “can’t think straight.”

As a Naturopathic doctor, it is my job to find the root cause. Food allergies and sensitivities must be ruled out, as well as hormone imbalances, true source of pain, and dietary choices.

Ultimately, the choices you make in life are truly your own. Lifestyle choices have been proven again and again to make the most impressive and permanent changes (see last month’s column) and yet this is where we all struggle the most.
But believe me, you can do it. After all, you don’t want to constantly sweat the small stuff, because it’s ALL small stuff.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Thank Geckos For Sticky Tape by Ned Hickson on 03/03/2011
It’s true I sometimes make fun of scientific discoveries that, in my opinion, seem a little silly—such as genetically altering a mouse to glow in the dark. That’s because I just can’t see any benefit to creating a rodent with its own built-in night light. While it might make for goofy fun at the lab when all the lights are out, should one of these neon mice manage to escape and reproduce, I’ll be the one stuck taking my cat to therapy twice a week.

However, from time to time, there is a scientific breakthrough so significant, so far-reaching, so ground breaking that even I—a trained humor columnist—must stop and say:

Wow! This is quite possibly the most important scientific discovery since … the glow-in-the-dark mouse! (For me, the yardstick by which all modern scientific discoveries are measured.)

Thanks to researchers at Lewis and Clark University and the University of California Berkeley, we are on the verge of another milestone in scientific achievement — something that could quite possibly change the world as we know it. At least in terms of adhesiveness.

Gecko Tape.

After hearing this exciting news, you’re undoubtedly thinking the same thing I was: Eww.
But rest assured that this new tape is NOT actually made from geckos. However, it is strong enough to support the entire body weight of a full grown elephant — which apparently is just one of its many practical applications.

However, before we get to that, part of my job as a journalist is to take highly technical information and, through a rigorous process of study and research, find a way of explaining it to you, the reader, in such a way that I, the journalist, look smart. To do this, I will be using terms like setae, and spatulae, and Van der Waal forces. I might even include the term proluminal crotominoids (pronounced pro-loom-i-nal  crow-tom-i-noids), which essentially means that I’ve run out of actual scientific terms and am now making them up.

That said, I will explain the science behind Gecko Tape. To begin with, geckos have 100 times the wall-climbing ability of spiders. Something that, back in the 1960s, nearly led Marvel Comics to pass up spiders and introduce the Amazing Gecko-Man! who, along with his ability to climb walls, would possess other gecko-like superpowers — such as licking his eyelids and detaching his rear end as a means of escape. (The idea was shelved after sketching just three panels of a fight between Gecko-Man! and Doctor Octigrab.)

The secret to the gecko’s clinging ability lies in its toes, each of which contain microscopic setae (tiny hairs). At the tip of each setae is a spatulae (pad) that is approximately 10 millionths of an inch across, which the gecko laces with poluminal crotominoids (Super Glue) before climbing. This produces an effect called Van der Waal forces, which I haven’t figured out yet, but nonetheless would be a really great name for a Bruce Willis movie.

After years of study, researchers have discovered that the combination of setae and spatulae cause electrical charges around molecules to become unbalanced, resulting in an unnatural attraction to each other, such as Brigitte Nielsen and Flava Flav.

Scientists have now found a way to duplicate the gecko’s setae and spatulae in order to create the most adhesive tape known to man.

The next big challenge, of course, will be packaging. It’s not like you can sell it in a roll like duct tape. How will you ever get it apart?

Still, when they do eventually figure it out, I’ll be the first one in line. I plan to buy several rolls and leave strips of it all over the house.

I mean, heck—what better way to catch a glow-in-the-dark mouse?

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439.)
A Real Job, And Health Insurance by Luke Will on 03/03/2011
This month marks my return to Mount Hood in almost two years. On this occasion, the reason for my brief return to Oregon is the friends I made here. They were once my employers, my co-workers, my skiing and running partners, surfing buddies, fellow backpackers, blue-grass lovers, beer drinkers, chess players, dog sitters, and even strangers generous enough to share a couch (and later keys to their home).

They are a group, some unknown amongst each other, that I proudly call my friends. And during quiet summer nights or dark winter days, in the countless places I’ve been since overlapping my life with theirs, it’s the memories of our time together that keeps me comfortable.

It was heartwarming to see their responses to the news that I’d be back visiting their town, genuinely thrilled, as am I. What caught me off guard were the comments and questions about my loyal companion and four-legged adventurer, Tischer. 

Most of them were mentioning her in the same breath as me, as though we came as a package.  But then, if I reconsider, we have been a package deal since the beginning.
I was only four months into Govy life when we joined forces.  And even though I promptly renamed her after a creek in Duluth, Minn. that I am fond of, she still bears the personality of her original shelter namesake, Kissy.

That wee puppy passed gas within minutes of us first meeting, a potent bomb that would have cleared me out of the windowless room if I hadn’t sensed some sort of connection. And when I approached the counter and uttered those powerful words, “I want to adopt Kissy,” the moment it left my lungs I knew it’d be a life changing breath.
At times I wonder what really was behind my yearning to add a dog to my situation.  If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that my situation is not a constant.  Not by years, months, or even weeks.  And having a dog certainly helps keep it that way, which in turn, keeps me logistically on my toes.

Barely six months ago I was stumbling out of a kayak with a huge sun burnt beard, but no job or home of my own other than my truck (which turned out to be infested with mice). I had arranged a short-term adoption for her since she didn’t fit in the rear hatch of my boat.

Fifty-two days later, just before my self imposed “Make A Move” deadline, I abruptly headed 240 miles north, taking a seasonal winter job. And of course, Tischer came with me. 

Before the full moon in January, the belief that my recently finished expedition would lead to something was validated when I accepted my employers offer to become the new Director of Activities and Recreation. It’s a scenario beyond my wildest dreams.
Which leads Tischer and I to our new situation. It might just be the most stable one I’ve had since being a college student. 

My upcoming months are filling up quickly with presentations, story deadlines, new projects, and training demands but the constant is that I always return home at night to my dog waiting excitedly at the door. We enjoy nighttime walks together, dinner, and each other’s warmth before bed. 

We always have though. What’s different is a commitment on my end to keep us planted here for a time. Some of my cohorts are reassuring me that I’m not settling down, not turning a leaf on my old ways just because I have a non-seasonal job, am paying rent for the first time in five years and actually have health insurance.

And that’s one aspect of me that might be new to my friends here in Oregon. 

Honestly, I was always afraid of someday veering away from being the guy who crashed on couches. And then at some point, since I’ve embraced this new situation, I realized that was a foolish thing to worry about.
 
Because really, how hard is it to sleep on a couch? It isn’t.

And I know this because it was one of the first things most of my Portlander friends offered me, a place to sleep.
More Wet Stuff On Tap by Herb Miller on 03/03/2011
The first 10 days of February were moderate with average temperatures and precipitation slightly less than normal.

The next four days were warmer than average, after which cooloer weather moved in and snowfall in Government Camp started getting skiers and boarders enthusiastic.

The last week of February ushered in a return to winter weather more typical of January.
But this year falls far short of late February, 1971, when snowfall amounts of 9.2 inches, followed by 10 inches, were recorded Feb. 25 and 26, respectively, in Brightwood.

In Government Camp the record snowfall for February was measured in 1994 when 25 inches was recorded Feb. 24.

Once again the National Weather Service bases its outlook on a continution of the La Nina conditions, although they are showing signs of weakening.

Our area is expected to be colder than average with above average precipitation once again for March.

During March the Hoodland area has an average high temperature of 52, an average low of 35, with a precipitation average of 7.60 inches, including 2.8 inches of snow.
Chances to reach a high of at least 60 or to reach at least 70 are about even.
During the past 10 years, only the year of 2009 failed to get above 50. The record of 81 was recorded March 31, 1987, which was approached with a 76 in 2004.

A low in the upper 20s is almost a given for at least one day, the exception being a 30 degree low in 2004.

On average, March has eight days reaching a freezing temperature and the record low of 21 degrees was recorded on March 4, 1989.

During March, Government Camp has an average high temperature of 41, an average low of 27, and a precipitation average of 9.07 inches, including 47 inches of snow.
There have been four years during the last eight when a high of at least 60 was recorded, including a 66 in 2004, compared to the record high of 70 recorded March 30, 1966.

Lows reaching into the 20s or teens are about evenly divided during the last eight years with a record of 1 degree being set March 1, 1971.

The year 2003 got dumped on with snowfall amounts of 22 inches on March 7 — a record high snowfall for March — followed by another 21 inches the very next day.
Like Football? Like Supermodels? Like Sleeping on the Couch? by Ned Hickson on 02/02/2011
Men everywhere are preparing for the Super Bowl. They are finalizing their list of snack foods. They are brushing up on Super Bowl trivia.
And, most importantly, they are trying to come up with a reasonable answer to the following question:

Why are there 14 half-naked super models tackling each other on TV?

This question will come up at halftime.

It will be posed by wives everywhere.

And, depending on the answer, it could result in a full-body tackle over the sofa.
I’m talking of course about the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view halftime show being offered by Horizon Entertainment. In the advertising world, this is known as a “high concept” idea, meaning that, thanks to whatever the ad designers were smoking at the time, they came up with an idea that a “target audience” can quickly connect with on a personal level.

To demonstrate, I will now — without warning — grab a fellow journalist who is also a member of the target audience for the Lingerie Bowl.

Specifically, a living male.

 He has no idea what I am about to tell him. In fact, he actually looks a little freaked out.

All the better to make my point. Okay. He is now demanding that I leave his cubicle, meaning it’s time to pitch my “high concept” idea, which I will explain as concisely as possible:

Super models playing tackle football in their underwear.
And ... voila!

Total elapsed “personal connection” time: Minus-three seconds.

How is this possible?

Scientifically speaking, he is a male. Therefore, any thought that includes either super models or football is capable of stopping time. Combine the two, and you can actually break the space-time continuum.

Which is bad.

However, as a responsible journalist, I do feel something needs to be said in defense of these hard-working and incredibly fit female athletes. I’ll admit that I’ve spent a little time researching the two Lingerie Bowl teams.

Fine — a lot of time.

So much time, in fact, that I don’t even know who’s playing in this year’s Super Bowl. But say what you will about this being just tasteless exploitation; it requires a tremendous amount of athleticism just to get into one of those outfits. If NFL players had to compete in those same outfits —

Well, the entire game would be shot from the Goodyear blimp.

More importantly, I seriously doubt anyone would be enthusiastic about playing center.
And if they were, good luck finding a quarterback.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)
After the Resolutions, It's Time for Permanent Change by Victoria Larson on 02/02/2011
OK, so the resolutions for the new year have already gone by the wayside and you are wondering how to motivate yourself to make those changes you promised yourself.
You are not alone.

I thought this might be a good time to reexamine your attempts and see if we can’t make more permanent changes, because it’s the permanent changes that will make you feel better.

No person over the age of 21 wants to get older, yet aging is one of those things we cannot do anything about. Or can we? Signs of aging begin with an excess of circulating insulin throughout the body, mostly due to excessive intake of sugars in the diet.

Accelerating the aging process includes such habits as skipping meals, high carbohydrate meals and snacks, lack of exercise, use of stimulants such as sugar, soda, and caffeine, and lack of stress management.

Hypoglycemia and Syndrome X are the pre-cursors to Type 2 Diabetes. The body reacts to the above onslaughts by shutting down the cell’s insulin receptors, which then can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, increased body fat, increased waist-to-hip ratio, decreased muscle mass, and decreased strength. Further down this path we have the so-called diseases of aging which include increased risk of stroke and cancer.

But of course what most people want to know is how to control their weight. And that’s a good thing because that is truly where your path to anti-aging starts.

So let’s look at weight loss with different approaches. I’ll start with my least favorite, the drugs. In studies done from 1998 up to the present, reported in journals such as the International Journal of Clinical Practice and the New England Journal of Medicine, Metformin has been shown to provide weight loss of 0.3 to 5.3 pounds, though side effects included nausea, diarrhea, gas and bloating. Eating a good diet provided a loss of 12.6 to 13 pounds with no side effects. Statin drugs showed a weight loss of 0.5 pounds with side effects of muscle wasting, neuromuscular pain and liver toxicity.

Now let’s compare some of the other numbers you might look at on your annual blood work. With Metformin insulin did go down by 29 percent, but remember those side effects. Statins actually increased insulin, thereby increasing risk for Type 2 Diabetes. But with the proper low glycemic diet, the insulin went down 22.3 to 26.8 percent with zero side effects. HDL, the lipids you want to go up as they represent the healthy ones, saw Metformin and the statin drugs increasing them 0.9 to 15 percent, while the good diet increased HDL from 2.7 to 7 percent and a little more.

What about LDL, the one you want to stay down? Metformin actually had a range of down 3.5 percent to increasing LDL up to 11.9 percent. Statins, if they are working, can take LDL down more than 15 percent, but proper diet can do that as well and even reducing LDL by 17 percent. The same results with triglycerides showing Metformin reducing TGs by 15 percent but sometimes increasing them by as much as 8.5 percent. Statins can reduce TGs from 15 to 32 percent but a good diet can do the same, from 14 to 35 percent.

At this point I need to do the usual reminder to never, ever stop any medically prescribed drug cold turkey. If you just stop, you may, and probably will, experience a rebound effect, whereby everything will become worse than it was before you started on the meds.

I know it is way easier and faster to just take a pill, be it a drug or a natural remedy. But I’m here to tell you, it is my job to tell you that lifestyle changes have been proven again and again to work better. You lose weight, decrease your risk of disease states, look younger, and most importantly of all, you feel better.

I bet you would like to feel better.

Along with better lifestyle choices, what if you reduced your exposure to toxins. Don’t drink out of plastic bottles or heat anything in the microwave in plastic. What if you stopped using chemical-laden deodorants on the thin and sensitive skin of the underarm area? What if you avoided those chemicals for 20 years? What if you stopped using those “power-foam” cleaners and opted for simpler cleaning products.

A tiny bottle of essential oils and some water will go a long way toward reducing your chemical exposure and costs about a thousand times less than advertised products.
And they smell great besides.

Balancing blood sugar levels is not the only key to looking and feeling younger but it is a giant step toward avoiding disease and dying too young.

Naturopaths have tons of products for balancing blood sugar, as well as balancing hormones, a key factor in anti-aging approaches. These are called medical foods, the only patented ones of their kind and only available from doctors. But again these things are not the only answer. You still have to “do the work” of eating right and taking the supplements needed for your particular condition, body type, and remedy picture.
What would happen if you did those things?

Call me if you want to find out. Maybe this will be the year.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Finding Another Mountain Home by Luke Will on 02/02/2011
Luke Will's Adventures

With the main attraction in my one room cabin being the sight of Lake Superior out the sliding glass door, the view is a magnificent encouragement to use that doorway most often. Unfortunately there is no gutter to catch the snowmelt when it runs off the dark metal roof and I always end up with a frozen speed bump across the entrance.

I was just outside chiseling that slick take-me-down from my deck and realized how I am making this place my own. Not just this cabin as my home, but this shoreline as my front yard, this region as my neighborhood, and these people as my community.

Numerous times a day I take Tischer out into our side yard, a bare knob nestled between some red pines, for her to sniff the deer beds and cover their scent with her own. Whether light or dark, if I’m not trying to catch her nibbling on their droppings I lose myself in the swishing of waves against the cobble beach below. 

Around New Years I stood out there, listening once more, and gazing up at the sky. It was crystal clear and cold with a frigid wind that whisked away my warm breath but as I rested my head back on one shoulder I witnessed one of the most brilliant shooting stars of my life. The entire sky lit up as a flame blazed above the trees out toward open lake, water so dark and reflective that the sky was the ground. 

The experience felt magical, like I had just been part of a miracle.

Just down the road empties the Devil Track River. A close friend and I are concocting a plan to write a stream skiing guide and this one just might turn into my jewel of them all. With skis resting on my shoulder I can walk to it in 10 minutes from my cabin and access one of the classic flows of the area. 

It took me over a month to pick up on this. Every town (even though I live rurally) is best discovered on foot and I found the close proximity of this river not on my drives over its bridge but rather one night after dark while I was out walking Tischer.

When my parents came up to visit I took them up to the mountain (go ahead and snicker, sometimes I do) to show them the ski resort. On the drive up we spotted a huge great grey owl perched on a power line next to the road. Coming back down we again looked for it but this time we found it just below the line, rustling around in the snow with its wings slightly spread.  It must have made a kill.

My dad stopped the car and after a few moments it rotated its head to look at us. Then in slow motion it lifted up from the snow and swooped right at us. I swore it was going to fly right into the back seat window but at the last moment it pulled up and landed on the roof. 

I couldn’t believe it! My dad could see it in the side mirror and I wanted a glimpse of it resting on the roof rack but I wasn’t about to put my head out the window.

It’s these highlights, already filling less than two months of living here that are giving me a connection, and a reason to stay. The networking is happening, the skiing buddies are forming, the bartenders are familiar, and the nuances of my cabin no longer awaken Tischer or me at night.

I am learning my way around the mountain. I know which Nordic trails to ski in certain conditions and even who grooms what. I know where the best local surf spot is (and it only happens to be nine miles from my cabin). I know where to get the best sleigh ride in town and where to pick up good smoked white fish. I know I like it here.

In memories and familiarity alike, I am making this place my own.
February: Colder and Wetter by Herb Miller on 02/02/2011
A Pineapple Express resulted in flood damage, particularly to property owners along Lolo Pass.

Rainfall totals from Jan. 15-18 in the Hoodland area of 6.29 inches, coupled with the 7.65 inches from Government Camp and the 12.02 inches from Timberline Lodge caused major flooding to upper reaches of the Sandy River and devastation along Lolo Pass.

By comparison, the 1996 flood had a rainfall total of 13.11 inches in Brightwood Feb. 6-9, but flood damage occurred more heavily downstream of Lolo Pass. The notorious 1964 flood resulted in a rainfall total of 14.66 inches in Brightwood Dec. 21-24, but the statewide frozen ground compounded by low-elevation snow resulted in record flooding throughout the state.

Precipitation has concentrated this January mostly during the 12-day period following Jan. 7 and temperatures have averaged near normal amounts.

Once again the National Weather Service bases its outlook on a continuation of the La Nina conditions and in our case, expects colder and wetter than average weather for February. But extreme weather disturbances have occurred frequently throughout the world the past several months, making predictions more difficult.

During February, the Hoodland area has an average high of 47, low of 34, with a precipitation average of 8.38 inches — including 6 inches of snow. Chances are about even for at least one day of 60 degrees or more. The record high of 66 was recorded the same year of the flood in 1996. Only one year out of the past 10 had a minimum lower than the 20s. The record low of 2 was recorded Feb. 3, 1989. During the past 10 years, the most snowfall was the 9 inches that fell during the first week of 2008. So the odds favor lower chances of any major winter weather after the end of the first week.
But keep your snow shovel handy just in case.

During February, Government Camp has an average high of 38, low of 26, and 9.70 inches of precipitation — including 42 inches of snow. Three of the past eight years had highs in the 60s. The 64 reading on Feb. 5, 2007 was near the record of 69 in 1962, the year that had six days in succession with highs in the 60s. Most years have at least one day with a low in the teens, but a low of 5 degrees was recorded in 2006. The record low of minus-13 was recorded on both Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 of 1989. Most snowfall was 25 inches recorded Feb. 24, 1994.
The Benefits of De-Teching by Victoria Larson on 01/02/2011
Regular readers of this column know that I’ve been on the five year plan to downsize, de-tech, and de-stress.

De-teching began seriously last year when I kept decreasing services from my cable TV and Internet service, only to have them continually increase charges. That made me mad so I had it all disconnected.

The workers must have gotten a chuckle out of it as I made the request just four days before the Super Bowl.

Admittedly, I mostly watch the Super Bowl for the humor, nostalgia, and/or poignancy of the commercials, but at least I’d made my point. I committed to a year without television, movies, Internet, radio, CDs, most things electronic.

The novelty wore off and I found myself with plenty of time. You know, the stuff you keep telling me you don’t have enough of? I began to breathe, to think things through, to enjoy my life right at the moment I was in it, not wanting for something else.

Don’t get me wrong, I still worked seven days a week at three different jobs. I was lucky, I loved every one of my jobs and all I had to do was wake up each morning and figure out what day it was and align myself to that work.

Still, something more had to give. Everyone needs rest in order to stay healthy. So I waited.

A good six months into the year I woke up and found that I didn’t want to go to work that day. There was my answer. I haven’t really slowed down, just made a shift in energy.

Not being one to push the river upstream, I waited for the universe to give me the answer I was seeking. I’m always telling you to listen to your body and I needed to pay heed myself.

The answer came to me very loud and clear.  I didn’t have to struggle with the decision, but just wait for the guidance.

The energy shift came from de-teching.

Instead of watching the news during the dinner prep hour, I would light a candle and say a prayer for the nourishment of the food I was preparing for myself, my family, or friends and neighbors.

Somehow everything tasted better with the gratitudinal attitude.
I decided to move the clock from right in front of my face. Cooking should be a process not a timed event. Again, it was about my attitude. Cooking didn’t take any longer, but it was more enjoyable. And within twenty-four hours I’d lost my attachment to time frames.

For the record, I’ve never been able to wear a watch (they stop) and I’ve rarely been late for an appointment.

Not hearing the weather report every day encouraged me to get a weather book and sit on the back porch and study the clouds each evening. I got as good at predicting the next day’s weather as any reporter on TV.

I guess you can teach an old brain new things after all.

I did miss my daily contact with a favorite cousin and a friend in Aspen, Colorado but after timing how many minutes and hours I was spending on the computer, I knew that had to stop. I now go to the library once a week for e-mails and once a month to write these columns.

I’m a happier person without that electronic pull into frazzle-dazzle time frames.

The tendency in our world is for self-imposed urgency, when really we need to get a grip. Take control of your life instead of throwing it away. It is your time and not some electronic device making demands on you.

Super Bowl Sunday may have come and gone by the time you read this, but I will not have reconnected, for I found that if you slow down and take time to listen, you will find that guidance is always there for you.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
A Good Winter is Upon Me by Luke Will on 01/02/2011
Tischer and I have made a move north, unpacking into a two-room cabin on the outskirts of the small harbor town of Grand Marais, Minn.
 
We are nestled between the Midwest’s version of elevation, the Sawtooth Mountains, and that magnificent and now very familiar inland sea I just finished paddling around.
 
It is our new ski cabin, this time with a sliding glass door leading onto a deck overlooking the now really frigid waters of Lake Superior.

On the second night at home with Tischer curled up on her soft wool blanket I settled onto the cushion beside her, a small notepad in my hand.

That morning while unpacking a sturdy old Point Beer case full of pictures, I had come across it.  During my last days in Missoula back in 2006 a girl I had just met made it for me, half a dozen unlined note cards bound between two Fat Tire beer bottle labels (which I had peeled while on a pseudo date with her).
 
I spent the next year carrying it with me, looking for the perfect words to put in it. And then one sunny November day hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail north of Twin Lakes,

Tischer and I lunched in a clearing and while my body digested, my inspiration soared.  
I filled all the pages but one, writing out the things I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, and the life I wished for Tischer. 

Besides those short and long-term goals, I also starting recording a list of what I believed I needed in my life. The list was fairly extensive and though I certainly could include much more now, I have only added to it once since then. 

I find it a curious reflection of what was on my mind and in my heart at that time. Turns out I haven’t changed much.

The landscape is white and once again it is just me and my dog in a cabin. I have chosen this. Despite who I might miss or the bonds with civilization that I might crave, this is where I will thrive, at least for right now. 

And should I demand any proof of this, I needn’t look any further than this small notepad.

From that November day in 2007:

I am a man who requires change. I need to take a deep breath every day of the freshest of fresh air. I need to focus my gaze upon a full moon. I need a brisk breeze to blow across my face. I need to shave only every once in a while. I need to look down from great heights. I need to be cold. I need to experience a burning in my muscles. I need to be out of breath. 

I need Tischer to want to come and sit by me. I need to dance in the rain naked. I need to feel the energy of waves. I need to taste GORP. I need to smell a wood fire. I need to have my face white-washed with snow. I need to be hungry. I need to watch as the sun dips behind the treetops. I need to drink a great tasting beer. I need to hear the call of a loon. I need rays of sun to warm my hands. I need to listen to someone play the guitar. I need to sleep on couches. I need to hold someone’s hand.
 
I need to pick fresh berries. I need to run on trails with someone. I need to get random phone calls from old familiar voices. I need to watch the flicker of a candle. I need to smell the woods. I need to ice skate. I need to stretch out against a log. I need to laugh. I need to impress myself. I need to sit in a hot spring. I need to sleep by a fire. I need to skinny dip. I need to sing. I need to play card games. In a tent.

I need to have good company around me. I need to see Lake Superior. I need to smile and laugh, and that is what all of this brings me. 

It’s going to be a good winter.

(Follow Luke’s travels on his blog: lucaswill.com)

Luke Will
Luke Circumnavigates Lake Superior by Luke Will on 12/02/2010
I went to bed warm despite the 30-degree night air, in part because of the whiskey and beer that accompanied me at the campfire.  It was our last fire, and yet only our fifth overall of the trip. 

Within its heat the flicker of orange flame separated us from the close sloshing waves of Lake Superior as the twinkling lights of Duluth sat on the horizon in the near distance. 

After 96 days of kayaking we were almost home.

More than three months before we had put our ill-fated handmade Skin On Frame kayaks into the Duluth Harbor and set out to circumnavigate the world’s largest lake. In a series of surreal moments, I remember that first night lying in a hotel room, just feet from the beach, we’d made an emergency landing in not even an hour after hitting the open lake, watching FOX’s 10 o’clock News feature story on our trip. 

It turned out we wouldn’t actually leave Duluth until four days later, on the last day of June, in quickly acquired but reliable Perception plastic sea kayaks. Our handmade ones now stowed in a friend’s garage for the summer, they just weren’t up to the rigors of Superior’s big water.

Known to the native Ojibwe as Gichigami, this gigantic inland sea has over 2,700 miles of total shoreline. Take away the islands and we figured we were looking at a minimum of 1,200 miles of paddling ahead of us to make it from Duluth back to Duluth along the outer shoreline. Essentially we were aiming to paddle from Government Camp to Denver.

To help us document our journey we had a variety of electronics with us, all of which eventually needed recharging. 

On occasion Superior has scenic roadways that follow the shore which helped us with this task by supplying wayside rests (light poles with unlocked outlets) and small towns with bars or restaurants, gas stations, and friendly locals (our favorite).

In the more remote areas where we’d go days without seeing any development or people we brought a small flexible solar panel.

Every piece of gear, from our socks and journals to sleeping bags and certainly our cameras were stored in a dry bag, a heavy-duty soft plastic and sealable waterproof (in theory) bag. 

Of course some of our kayaking specific gear was OK to get wet, mainly our two-way marine radios and rescue gear, all of which was stored on the deck of our kayaks.
We carried everything we would need for the duration of the expedition other than food — of which we mailed re-supplies to ourselves, usually in those small towns we passed through. 

When we realized we needed another warm hat, or a fleece sleeping bag liner or another water bottle we often lucked out with finding a place to pick one up, even in the smallest of communities.

It is now a couple months since we finished and I have a lot of reactionary thoughts, some formed quickly, and others I’ve absorbed slowly. 

To date, this was the longest trip that I have undertaken which immediately chalks it up as a learning experience. And the combination of an incredibly fair weather summer (overall) and the relaxing rhythm of paddling a sea kayak allowed lots of time to think. So much time that surprisingly I sometimes ran out of things to think about and found myself counting each stroke I took to see if in fact it takes 1,000 strokes to paddle a mile.

Our trip around Lake Superior can be described in two parts, geologically speaking. 
The first half, the northern shore from Duluth over to Sault Ste Marie, Minn. was rocky, rugged shore with small tucked away beaches being mostly medium sized cobbles. It was also the least developed and most remote.

But as soon as we aimed our bows back to the west from the Sault it was all long and friendly sandy beaches. Up until the weather turned colder and windy halfway through September it made me feel like I was paddling in the Caribbean. 

As fall took grip of the region, the way we camped and paddled became more important. The rough weather demanded we make smart decisions even though we anxiously looked for the Duluth hillside around every bend in the shore. A whole season of paddling had fine-tuned our skills though, so despite frigid water, curling waves and washed out river mouths we arrived back home with cold fingers but high spirits. A well-earned achievement for two adventurers.

The Perfect Gift for the Holidays: Good Food by Victoria Larson on 12/02/2010
I have the perfect gift idea for you to give or get. Comes in sizes to fit all, sustainable, cost variable, always appreciated.

But first I’ll tell you how to get there.

 In 1950 the United States was fifth best in the world for longevity. When I first started writing this column more than 10 years ago we had slipped to 39th. We are now at number 49 in the world for expected longevity.

Not the right direction to be going.

But why?

We have virtually the same percentage of car accidents, poisonings and so on. But there has been a decline in our health care industry. United States medical doctors prescribe more drugs than most places on earth. Yet that does not seem to be making us any healthier, nor are we living any longer.

 What has changed is neonatal care. We save more premature babies now with current technology. And that’s a good thing.

Though, oddly, we still lose more infants in our hospitals than in countries where many babies are born at home, or in the fields, or in primitive hospitals.

Before opening the Schoolhouse, I delivered 93 babies over the years and only a few cases were transported to hospitals. Many were home births. Several deliveries were in a Jamaican hospital where I calculated we handled a birth every 15 minutes, on average.
 
Even the MDs’ medical journals acknowledge that more than 83 percent of health is related to lifestyle. Only 5 percent comes from medicine, and that “medicine” is not revealed.

Turns out that only about 20 percent of cancer patients even tell their MDs that they are using alternative methods. Turns out they don’t want to be ridiculed by their doctors. Those who do tell their MDs are usually told to “keep doing whatever they’re doing” but no further questions are asked. 

When you and I were kids, farmland was considered “prime.” And more than 100 years ago our grandparents’ small farms were generally run by horsepower and man/woman power. Manure was recycled back to the soil. Microbes were abundant in that soil. No need for chemical fertilizers.

Now only 7 percent of U.S. farmland is considered prime. Most farmers put NPK back into the soil in the form of synthetic fertilizers. Soils are deficient in microbes and micronutrients.

So are people as a result.

Now we have “persistant organic pollutants” in our soils — synthetic chemicals that disrupt hormones, load our bodies with toxins, and lead to inflammation. Toxins inhibit the function of the mitochondria of your cells. The mitochondria are responsible for the energy metabolism of your cells. Transfats “stiffen” the cell membranes. Cells that cannot detoxify themselves become diseased. Disease is inflammation and inflammation is disease.

Americans eat too much sugar, become obese, cannot detoxify their cells so they feel fatigued, and all of this leads to inflammation, which causes cancer and heart disease and diabetes.

Is everything as straightforward as this? Of course not. Perfectly healthy people get cancer too. We are all living in this toxic soup so we are all exposed to inflammation-inducing toxins.

From 1932 to 1942, the study called “Pottinger’s Cats” showed that poor nutrition led to cats who were lethargic, had poor bone formation, and seemed to lack normal cognitive responses. By the third generation of cats in his study, most of the cats were stillborn. When fed a high quality, raw food diet the cats returned to normal function.
But it took four generations.

Any wonder that today’s children are not slated to live as long as we will. Look to their diets.

So what is the perfect gift?

Give good food.

Give someone a basket of organic food, free of as many pollutants as possible — the perfect gift for the young family with children so they can start teaching those children about good food. The perfect gift for elders who are at high need for nutrient dense foods that taste good too. The perfect gift for teenagers who eat like horses and may be turned on to something better than Twinkies. The perfect gift for singles to share. The perfect gift for anyone on your list.

Have a healthy holiday and next year I’ll discuss more about how to detox and get healthier.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
December: There's More on the Way by Herb Miller on 12/02/2010
The above normal temperatures for the first week of November were followed by more seasonable weather for the next 10 days.

Government Camp had a snow depth of 12 inches Nov. 11 which was melted five days later. But snow returned in earnest with a snow depth of 21 inches Nov. 19, which grew to 53 inches four days later.

Brightwood received 2.5 inches of snow Nov. 18, followed by 1 and 2-inch amounts Nov. 21 and 22, respectively.

But the big news was the arctic air that moved in Nov. 23, lasting into Thanksgiving. This brought a low of 13 in Brightwood Nov. 24, just one degree higher than the record low for November set in 1985. More seasonable weather returned after Thanksgiving.

The National Weather Service expects our area to receive above average precipitation during December but somewhat unexpectably predicts average temperatures.

Later in the winter, due to La Nina, they now expect lower than average temperatures for our area.

In December, the Hoodland area has an average high of 42, low of 33, with 10.80 inches of precipitation, including 6.1 inches of snow. Nearly every year has at least one day with a high reaching into the 50s and lows dropping into the 20s. The record low of 2 degrees was recorded Dec. 21, 1990. The record high snowfall for December was only two years ago in 2008 when a total of 43.75 inches was measured — of which 32 inches fell during a five-day period, Dec. 18-22. The record high precipitation total of 22 inches occurred in 1996.

In December, Government Camp has an average high of 36, low of 25, with 13.92 inches of precipitation, including 52 inches of snow. During the past seven years, highs reached into the 40s every year except 2004 when an exceptional 58 degrees was reached. The record high of 73 occurred Dec. 13, 1963. Lows routinely reach into the teens or single digits, and a zero-degree low was read only one year on Dec. 9. The record low of minus-14 was recorded Dec. 18, 1964 but closely approached fairly recently when a minus-12 was reached Dec. 21, 1990. The record single day snowfall for December was 20 inches measured Dec. 5, 2001.
Insurance Premium Up? Thank My Dog by Ned Hickson on 12/02/2010
Each year, we have our pets blessed on St. Francis Day. We do this because we want to give our pets every advantage, particularly if there’s a chance — through divine intervention — that our Chocolate Labrador’s IQ could be raised above that of a standard carrot.

I know this is supposed to be a general blessing situation, but I think God would agree there was a serious oversight during Stanley’s creation process.

I know He is very busy.

I know He sees all.

But maybe He was also trying to catch the season finale of “Survivor.”

Whatever the reason, somewhere in the world there’s a dog with two brains.
Undoubtedly, its owners are very happy. They don’t care that their dog’s enormous cranium causes people and other dogs to stare. That’s because their dog is smart. Their dog has an instinctive understanding of things like gravity. These owners give thanks to St. Francis each day because their dog, in spite of its bulbous cranium, would never high-center itself on a coffee table in front of company.

Stanley’s problem is that he tries to move like a gazelle when, in fact, he has the dexterity of a bull moose. He may THINK he can leap over the back of the couch from a seated position, but repeated attempts have proven otherwise. I’ve given up trying to explain this to people; I simply tell them he must be choking on something and trying to give himself the Heimlich maneuver.

It’s less embarrassing than the truth, which, more often than not, prompts people to react as if their very life depended on not upsetting the lunatic dog before Animal Control arrives.

However, Stanley does come in handy when trying to get rid of pushy sales people. All I have to do is open the door wide enough for them to glimpse a 60-pound dog repeatedly leaping chest-first onto the couch and then falling to the floor. On the rare occasion a sales person makes it through their entire spiel, I’ve yet to have one come inside even when invited.

I should mention that Stanley is more than a year old. The fact he is still doing things like this concerns me. So much so that I began looking for a treatment. After hours of research and a lengthy discussion with my vet, we reached a disturbing prognosis for Stanley:

There is no treatment.

At least, not for him.

But I did find out that Stanley is not alone. According to a study conducted by Tesco Pet Insurance in England, Chocolate Labs are officially the clumsiest breed of dog on the planet.

Tesco’s study showed that Labs are twice as likely to hurt themselves while attempting something that researchers agreed, “Requires a crash helmet.”

In addition, 55 percent of Chocolate Lab owners filed a claim in the last year for damages to their home under the category “Act of Dog.”

Unfortunately, this behavior is present in Labradors here in the U.S. as well.

One example is a three-month-old Lab puppy in Oklahoma who blew the roof off his owner’s house. As it turns out, “Jake” was fine and the family had left for the day. Firefighters speculate that the dog had chewed a hole in the gas line when a nearby water heater clicked on, causing a blast powerful enough to level the house.
This incident really put things into perspective for me.

Come next year, when we gather our pets for St. Francis Day, I’ll just pray for Stanley’s continued good health and happiness.

That’s assuming we still have a roof over our heads.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.)
New Weapons Equal Faster Weiners by Ned Hickson on 11/02/2010
Here in the Northwest, activists have been complaining for years that police routinely violate their right to protest about really important global issues, such as the need for tougher Tofu standards. They argue that, when it comes to the right of peaceful assembly and eventual rioting spurred by boredom, the use of nonlethal weapons by police makes vandalizing things nearly impossible.

Fortunately, some new nonlethal weapons currently under development could be the answer — as long as the question involves a wiener, and how to cook it in less than three seconds from 20 feet away.

But we’ll get to that.

In the past, stopping unruly protesters has left police with only a handful of nonlethal alternatives, including the dispersal of rubber bullets, high-velocity bean bags, pepper spray, and, in extreme cases, throwing Yanni CDs.

Protesters say this kind of action is overly aggressive, hostile, and way beyond the limits of civilized law enforcement. Police argue that they only turn to Yanni CDs as a last resort.

Because of this, nonlethal weapons programs across the U.S. have been expanding their list of options — beginning with a new anti-traction gel nicknamed “liquid ball bearings.” According to officials at The Southwest Research Institute of Texas, the new sprayable gel is the “slipperiest substance ever created by man.”

(Note: This doesn’t include Halliburton executives, who were unavailable for testing.)
Excited researchers predict that the first batch of anti-traction gel should become available sometime in the next few weeks — just as soon as someone at the lab can stand up long enough to write the ingredients down.

For situations that call on a more direct approach, a firm called Foster-Miller, based in Waltham, Mass., has created something called The Webshot, which is a 10-foot-wide Kevlar net that can be fired from a special shotgun and used to subdue an out-of-control protester from as far away as 30 feet!

Thanks to what has been described as “very heavy lobbying” from readers of Working Mother magazine, The Webshot will also be available in the toddler section of major department stores starting in December.

For larger threats, General Dynamics has developed the Portable Vehicle Arresting Barrier, which is an elastic net that can spring up out of the ground to stop a 7,500-lb. truck moving at 45 mph. In addition, testing has shown that the same device can also stop a truck being moved by 45 toddlers at one mph.

(Again mothers, you’ll have to wait until December.)

This brings us to the subject of Direct Particle Beams, which not only offers another option in nonlethal law enforcement, but also in the way we cook our wieners.

Described as a cross between a microwave oven and a Star Trek phaser, Direct Particle Beams can flash-heat a target from a great distance.

This is a vast improvement over my current technique of flash-burning my children’s Ball Park Franks while standing next to the stove. With a Direct Particle Beam, I would have the freedom to leave the kitchen entirely and burn our children’s  hot dogs from the comfort of the living room.
Getting back to the nonlethal-weapon aspect of this device: knowing my aim, I’m not sure I’d be willing to take the same chance with my own weiner.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore., 97439)
Too Much Fat is a Big Deal by Victoria Larson on 11/02/2010
Your bones need both strength and flexibility. I’m sure you’ve heard the hazards of falling and then breaking your hip. Now we have bones that break and then the person falls.

Wonder why?

It turns out that the Standard American Diet (SAD for short) is high in fat and low in nutrients. When there is too much fat in the bloodstream, fat first deposits in the liver, then muscles, and eventually your bones. This is new information that won’t reach the latest news copy for months to come.

 Over the last 100 years, magnesium intake has gone down dramatically. In 1900 magnesium intake per person was was almost 500 mg per day. By 1992 intake was half that much. Think about it. Your grandparents had farms or backyard gardens. In 1900 not everyone had electricity. You ate what came out of the garden or purchased from a local farm.

What do people do today with their high stress lives? They run through the fast food drive-through or maybe take time to pop into the big box grocery store for some frozen meals.

Most of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, so it stands to reason that bones are breaking before the person falls, and not the other way around! It is the magnesium that regulates the absorption of calcium. Absorption of magnesium is necessary for the structual integrity of bones and teeth.

Recently the British Medical Journal found that supplementation with calcium alone can actually lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Another reason to not just randomly buy vitamins and minerals over the counter because you read something about needing a nutrient for whatever need.

Supplements should be monitored by a physician trained in such therapies. In addition to bone integrity, magnesium also regulates the ability of the heart muscle to contract, thereby affecting blood pressure, and decreasing risk of strokes.

Of course there are many, many factors working together to increase or decrease your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Seven to 10 minutes with your doctor may not be enough to address the issues.

The British Medical Journal also reported that supplementation of calcium with Vitamin D and magnesium was shown to decrease risk of stroke. There are many, many calcium products on the market. Many of the over-the-counter ones are made of a base of calcium carbonate. If the bottle does not say what form the calcium is in then you must assume it is calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate is cheap so the cheaper the brand the more likely that is the source.
For the record, calcium carbonate is not very absorbable by the human body. In addition, calcium can only be absorbed in an acid environment, the correct pH balance for our stomachs. How many people take Tums, Pepcid, or other calcium blockers with meals. Thereby blocking absorption of calcium in any form.

Magnesium deficiency is very common and leads to symptoms of fatigue, irritability, muscle tightness or weakness or spasms, constipation, high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.

Do you know anyone with any of those symptoms? This is not health in its highest form.
The symptoms are just that, symptoms of a deficiency somewhere in the body.
Supplementation should be monitored by a physician instead of just throwing pills, natural or otherwise, down your throat.

The highest sources of magnesium are primarily in vegetables and fruits. Some sources may be things you don’t regularly eat, but might consider adding to your diet. These sources include soybean and buckwheat flour, figs, and Swiss chard. Other more commonly eaten sources are almonds, cashews, filberts, pecans and almost all of the legumes.

Self-supplementation may lead to an “overdose” though the symptom of this is diarrhea and easily rectified by decreasing intake. I offer magnesium in a glycinate form to aid in absorption but need to know the patient’s food intake, stress levels, all sources of nutrients (including self-supplementation) and family history.

In addition I ask about digestion, elimination, activity level, toxic exposures, and anything else that is pertinent to making you the individual person that you are.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
First Snowfall a Sign of Change by Herb Miller on 11/02/2010
The unseasonably dry and sunny weather during the first three weeks came to an abrupt end as the last 10 days of the month saw a return to weather we normally associate with this time of year.

During the dry period, Brightwood’s rainfall amounted to only 1.85 inches. After that, typical fall weather set in, and there was even a covering of snow on the mountains, especially in the higher elevations. Timing of the snow on the mountain is nearly identical to last year, when Government Camp recorded a snowfall of 12 inches on the 26th, followed by 3 inches the next day and another inch the day after. But it had all melted by the 30th.

The National Weather Service reports the strengthening of La Nina has placed it near record levels and has based its forecast mainly on a comparison of charts taken from previous years of equally high levels. Also, its outlook is limited to the fIrst two weeks of November and the remainder of the month will be issued at the end of October.
For our area, the outlook for November calls for higher than average precipitation with temperatures near average.

During November, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 48, an average low temperature of 38 and a precipitation average of 11.64 inches, including an average of 2.5 inches of snow.

During the past 10 years, high temperatures have reached into the low 60s six times and into the upper 50s four times. Lows have dipped into the mid to upper 20s for 9 of the last 10 years but a 19 degree reading occurred in 2006, the same year of a record total of 24.44 inches of precipitation. The record high was 70 on 11/2/81 and record low of 12 occurred 11/29/85, the same year a record snowfall of 25.5 inches was measured. The rain year that ended Sept. 30 totaled 90.23 inches, compared to an average 78.86 inches.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during November is 41, the average low is 29 with an average precipitation amount of 12.16 inches, including 32 inches of snow. During recent years, highs have reached the 50s or occasionally into the 60s, but the record is 70 on 11/3/81. Lows routinely fall into the 20s or teens, compared to a record -4 on 11/15/55 and a recent 9 degree reading in 2006, the same year of a record precipitation total of 26.97 inches and a record 20 inches of snowfall Nov. 23, equaling the same amount on 11/19/96.
Outlook on Education: Pee-Chee by Ned Hickson on 10/02/2010
When I was a kid, our school supply list consisted of a Star Wars notebook and a Pee-Chee folder. The notebook helped us organize our assignments; the Pee-Chee folder was used for entertaining ourselves during class by drawing thought balloons for the athletes on the cover.

Football Guy: (Getting tackled) “Oh sure — run the old L-42 play, THAT always works...”
Tennis Girl: “If my skirt gets any shorter, I’ll be playing Olympic volleyball...”

You get the idea.

Just about everyone remembers this folder because, like Al Sharpton’s hair gel, it has remained virtually unchanged since 1964.

What has changed, however, is the growing list of items parents must provide throughout the school year. This comes in addition to rudimentary things, such as clothing, snacks and a recent urine sample. The reason is simple: The government is tired of wasteful spending, particularly in the educational system, where a special task force has discovered that schools routinely get bilked into spending thousands of dollars on paper alone.

“And, shockingly, most of this paper has turned out to be blank,” said White House spokesman Fred Netterman.

The study, code-named “Operation: Waste Storm,” was described by Netterman as “the first step in a three-pronged approach to end overspending in four areas of education.”
Netterman later apologized, saying his initial figures were incorrect, and that it was actually a four-pronged approach.

“The point is, I’ve been promised as many prongs as it takes to get the job done — that’s how serious we are,” said Netterman, who revealed that scissors, glue and construction paper were other pork barrel items targeted by the study.

“Obviously, we’re approaching construction paper with a great deal of sensitivity since, in addition to money, it involves issues of color.”

When asked if past cuts in education contradicted the “No Child Left Behind” law, Netterman said it did not, arguing that it was President Bush himself, back in 2000, who stated: “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

Netterman explained that streamlining the education budget has done more to prepare children for the real world than making paper hats and collages — items which, as Netterman pointed out, could be outsourced to children in Taiwan and imported for half the price.

“In addition to the cost savings, think of how it would bolster our relationship with the Taiwanian people,” said Netterman, who underscored his statement by pointing to a map of Japan.

So, how has all this affected our children’s education?

I honestly don’t know..

But I’m sure, eventually, everything will be just Pee-Chee.


Luke Will
Luke's 'Dream' Ride Tracks for Duluth by Luke Will on 10/02/2010
We are 186 miles from completing our circumnavigation of Lake Superior. 

To date we’ve paddled more than 1,000 miles since we left Duluth, Minn. 88 days ago. The first two months of the expedition were overall hot and dry summer conditions for us. Not long after we paddled back into the United States at Sault Ste Marie toward the end of August, the weather began changing. 

The light of day greets us later in the morning and leaves sooner at night, making the colder temperatures feel that much cooler (especially in the dark morning hours). To adjust, I swapped out sleeping bags and picked up another fleece top and balaclava at a thrift shop. We also indulge in more frequent hot drinks, coffee for me. And for various reasons, I smoke a few more cigars which tend to play a relaxing influence on my mood.

Michigan has the majority of shoreline on Superior, much of it long sandy beaches which I absolutely love.

After traveling back toward the west in the direction of Duluth since we arrived back in the States, one route decision was still to be made. The Keweenaw Peninsula sticks up into the middle of the lake like a huge finger pointing at its geographical center and thus a huge feature for us to travel around. However, dredged in the late 1800s, the Portage Canal connects the western and eastern sides at roughly the base of the peninsula. This gave us an option to short cut through it and skip the Keweenaw altogether. 

Our plan from the beginning though was to go out and around. Simply put, it is the shore. Though, with rough fall weather lingering on our minds we held off making that decision until we arrived at the lower south entrance of the canal.

If we were late enough in September we would cut through but if we had enough time left in the month we would continue on around the Keweenaw.  Sitting here in Ontonagon on Sept. 25 — having just spent the last week and a half kayaking around the entire peninsula — I am relieved and darn glad we decided to do it.  So many people and highlights we would have otherwise missed.

Now though, we have also spent a considerable amount of time dealing with the weather.  Rain isn’t so bad as long as the lightning doesn’t show up. In fact, some of the best water we’ve been on has been with some precip falling. But the wind, that’s what keeps us off the lake. September is coaxing in the fall weather, and although we are enjoying the beautiful foliage, the winds have been frustrating.  Still though, we hope to arrive back in Duluth to a welcoming group of family and friends within the next couple weeks. 

And with such a story to tell.

The More Things Change ... by Victoria Larson on 10/02/2010
Ten thousand things. Does that seem like your to-do list? Or a wish list of things to get done? Or something else?
 
 Three times in my life I’ve lived at an address that started with “Star Route…” No street names, no apartment numbers, heck, no zip codes. Just the Star Route number and a town name. And people found me when they needed to.
 
 So when I moved to Star Route 3 in Damascus it was nothing new to me. But Damascus wasn’t Damascus then and Gresham was one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon. Two houses away was the town of Boring. My neighbor across the street had a different phone server which meant a long distance charge to call across the street. Cell phones didn’t exist then.

I’d walk across the street to see her. She’d ride her horse to return the visit.
 
 The post office was upgrading and decided we should have an actual address. An address of our choosing, within certain limits. So “10,000” was chosen. It seemed an easy number at the time. I’ve since learned to say the number and then tell the person that there are four zeros in 10,000. The next part is 222nd Avenue. Well, it still says “Avenue” at the beginning of the road but it says “road” at every intersection up to the county line. So I’ve learned to say “that’s 222nd, with three twos”.

 People laugh. You laugh. And still most folks get the address wrong. I’ve spent the last year, while the Schoolhouse was on the market, slowly changing the address with all of my vendors and suppliers. All but one vendor got the address wrong the first time. So I know it’s not as easy as it sounds.

 Things change. Change is the most constant thing we have. My address changed twice, and the zip code changed three times, and I haven’t moved in 22 years.

But now I am moving out of the Schoolhouse in Sandy to practice out of my home. An eye towards the economy and the maintenance of my own health has led me to downsize, de-tech, and de-stress.
 
 Or rather, I’m working on it. Perhaps the downsizing will have a bigger impact than eliminating credit cards, FAX machines, extra telephones, television, radio, computer, and numerous other devices that have apparently not made it any easier for people to find me than when I lived on one of those Star Routes.

During the time that the Schoolhouse was for sale, many people assumed, or were told, that I was no longer there. Though I continued to practice in that location, the patient load fell off. Was this because of the economy? Or because the building was for sale? Or some other reason? Not once in that year did I receive a phone call asking if I was still practicing in the Sandy location. We are all so busy checking our communication devices that we have forgotten how to communicate in real life.

In Chinese medicine, the 10,000 things refers to the interconnectedness of all things. Every thing relates to everything else. Everything has impact on everything else. In maintaining my own health and sanity, I will now be practicing at my farm, ready to accept new patients next month. Further information requires an old-fashioned phone call and a message with your address so that I may mail intakes, prices and directions to you.
 
 I hope you continue to keep in touch and let me know of your health needs.
And I promise to keep writing. It helps keep me sane.

Ready, Set, Grab Your Umbrellas by Herb Miller on 10/02/2010
The weather highlight of the month occurred during the late afternoon Sept. 17 when a brief thunderstorm in Brightwood triggered an intense downpour and ushered in over 2 3/4 inches of rain during the ensuing three days.
 
This deluge was the tropical remains of a typhoon that trailed into our area by the upper wind currents.

The month’s total was twice the normal average, but still well short of the record of 8.61 inches in 1994. Daytime high temperatures averaged a bit lower in Brightwood, and especially so in Government Camp.

The well-established La Nina pattern has impressed the National Weather Service to the extent that their outlook for October is largely based on it and most other factors are given only minor influence. Our area is forecast to be cooler and wetter than average for October.

For that matter, it’s probable their outlook will remain the same for the next several months.

 During October, Brightwood has an average high of 59, average low of 42 and a precipitation average of 6.20 inches. Eight out of the last 10 years had temperatures reach into the 70s, and only two years failed to get above the 60s. Record high for the month was 91 recorded both on Oct. 1, 1987 and again on Oct. 10, 1991. As a rule, the first freezing temperatures occur during the last week of the month and only two of the last 10 years failed to record a freezing temperature. Record low was 26 on Oct. 31, 2003.

In Government Camp the average high during October is 54, average low is 36 with an average precipitation amount of 6.99 inches, including 5 inches of snow. Four of the last seven years had highs reach the 70s, and three years failed to rise above the 60s. The record high of 83 was set Oct. 12, 1991. Low temperatures routinely fall into the 20s, and during the last seven years only the 19 degree reading in 2006 fell lower. the record of 10 degrees was set on both Oct. 38 and 29 of 1971. Most snowfall was the 15-inch total measured Oct. 28, 1961.
Don't Be Deceived by 'Flashy Packaging' by Victoria Larson on 09/02/2010
Back to school time is a good time for all of us to think about our “continuing education.” We need to keep eyes and ears open to gain more knowledge about the food we eat. It’s a new era of food and it’s not all good news. Most of what the grocery stores carry may not actually be food. It may be very nice, flashy packaging, but it’s not good nutrition.

A non-profit organization known as the Center for Food Safety estimates that 70 percent of the processed food in U.S. supermarkets is genetically modified “foodstuff.” Most of the GMO’d foods are corn or soy based. If you are buying packaged foods, you are eating foods that have been genetically modified. Look at virtually any box of cereal.

While colorfully packaged (with BHT as a preservative in the packaging) it is not the best choice for a healthy breakfast. But you’ve read that in my columns before so I won’t belabor it.

A Frenchman, Gilles-Eric Seralini, has been studying genetically modified corn varieties. Monsanto is our largest supplier of chemicals and they have produced three GMO’d varieties of corn. Two of those kill the insects that might feed on them. That means the corn’s DNA contains insecticides. Not my idea of a good breakfast. Hopefully at least the insects know better than to eat it. The third variety of corn has been modified to resist that popular over-the-counter herbicide, RoundUp. For the record, RoundUp is Monsanto’s best-selling product.

And in case you didn’t know it, RoundUp is also a hormone disrupter. Hormone disrupters are in plastics and foods and water these days. Causing nine-year-old girls to go into puberty early and the boys to manifest breasts and the adults to “get” low thyroid. Like it’s something you “catch” that can be cured with another hormonal pill. And as a reminder, so-called “natural” hormone replacement involves the manipulation of a plant molecule also.

Now go pick up that box of cereal again and look at the ingredients. Is there any corn in it? Any soy? Any wheat? Wheat is the most hybridiezed food we eat. And we eat a lot of it. It takes years for the human digestive system to adjust to a new hybrid alone. It’s why so many people are allergic to wheat. Do you wonder how long it will take to “adjust” to genetically modified ingredients? I don’t exactly want to find out the hard way.

 Most children and adults today live on supermarket foods, rather than home-grown or locally raised farm stand goods. Most kids eat processed and packaged foods. Some eat it exclusively. Many adults do too. If you think this isn’t a real problem I’ll tell you a couple of my personal “exposures” to GMO’d foods. First there was the eggplant that I purchased with the intent of using it within a few days. When I didn’t get around to it for a week, and it still looked exactly the same, I decided to see how long it would last. Ten months later that eggplant was still sitting on the counter, unchanged. That’s not normal food.

Another example included cutting into a tomato. All of the hundreds of seeds within the tomato were sprouted. All of them. It freaked me out so much that I wouldn’t even feed it to my chickens, lest that strangeness be transferred to me or my patients through the chicken’s eggs. I deal with cancer patients after all, and that’s not a patient base where you want ingestion of GMO’d foods. Of course, I don’t want any of my patients to have GMO’d foods.

It is estimated that babies are exposed to 10,000 chemicals by the age of two. My youngest grandson is two. Exposures are not just from chemicals in food but also from phalates and parabens in products like “anti-bacterial” soaps and shampoos. Then there’s the bis-phenol A in plastic toys and water bottles and the linings of canned foods. The thinner skin of babies and elders puts them at greater risk for stonger exposures. No one ever asks why the children born today are not slated to live as long as we will. There’s part of the reason.

Adults are exposed through cosmetics and cleaning products and anything plastic that you touch a lot, like your computer and cellphones. Add these exposures to GMO’d foods and we are a nation in troubled health. Do what you can to learn more. Eat less processed food. Grow more of your own. Shop locally from trusted farmers. The more you spend on good food the less you will spend on health care later.

 Want to know more? As the kids head back to school, head to the library or your local bookstore. My oft-mentioned most informative books include the following titles: Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy and Eaarth (both must-reads); Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire (the chapter on potatoes alone will change your eating habits); Omnivore’s Dilema and In Defense of Food (real food); Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation (remarkably researched with insights and history); and lastly Joel Salatin’s Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal (about government involvement in food production).

 So it’s back-to-school for all of us. In the meantime, eat fresher foods. Buy less, more often to keep your supplies fresh. Learn to can, freeze, dry, ferment your foods so you know exactly where they came from and how they were processed. The cost of food and the cost of medical care are inextricably entwined. Make your choices carefully and wisely.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Expect a Cool-Down in September by Herb Miller on 09/02/2010
For the second consecutive month, rainfall has been scarce and temperatures have been up-and-down.

The first week had temperatures pretty much on average, but starting on the 13th, the summer’s second heat wave resulted in Brightwood recording 90 degrees or above for five consecutive days, peaking with 94 on both the 14th and 15th. Government Camp recorded peaks of 84 and 86 on the 16th and 17th, respectively. Starting the last week, another hot spell produced two more days in the 90s in Brightwood, followed by cooler temperatures the remainder of the month. Overall, the heat waves caused above average temperatures.

The National Weather Service reports a strengthening of the La Nina pattern discerned a month ago and expects it to continue throughout the winter. Most of us associate this weather pattern with colder than average temperatures and more than average precipitation for our area.

Translation: expect a snowy winter.

This September, the NWS expects our area to be cooler than average with precipitation about average.

During September, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 70 degrees, an average low temperature of 47 degrees and a precipitation average of 3.30 inches. Eight out of the last 10 years, had temperatures reach into the 80s, two years had highs in the 90s, and only the year 2004 failed to get above the 70s.

Record high for the month was a sizzling 102 recorded Sept. 2, 1988, compared to a record low of 32, recorded only five years ago on Sept. 24, 2005, for the earliest freezing temperature on record.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during September is 63 degrees, the average low is 42 degrees and an average precipitation amount of 3.44 inches. Six of the last eight years had highs in the 80s and only two didn’t make it above the 70s. The record high of 94 was set on Sept. 4, 1988 and the record low of 23 was recorded back on Sept. 27, 1972.

Snow is a rarity in September, averaging out to only 0.2 inches over the long term. The earliest significant snowfall was 3 inches, measured on Sept. 23, 1984.
Sunburn is Bad, but the Sun is Still Our Friend by Victoria Larson on 08/03/2010
The largest organ of your body is your skin.  Interestingly, skin contains immune enhancing ability. Oral supplementation with Vitamin D is important (I prescribe it in liquid form for ease of compliance — a drop a day of a tasteless emulsion) but actual exposure to the sun is where the magic happens to enhance your immune system.
 
A gene known as p53 is responsible for initiating the process of tanning. This gene supresses tumors. Ultraviolet light activiates the p53 gene to begin the tanning pathway. Skin cells without the p53 gene do not tan, causing conditions like vitiligo. Yet, without the gene, the skin cells cannot protect themselves from skin cancers.
 
What this means is sun exposure itself turns on the p53 gene which initiates tanning and the formation of Vitamin D, while also protecting the skin from tumors.

There are three major categories of skin cancers. Basal cell carcinomas usuallly occur in sun exposed areas such as head and neck, though not exclusively of course. They rarely metastasize and are 95 percent curable.
 
The second major category is squamous cell carcinomas, usually appearing as a red patch or a nodule and may appear in areas of the body that have had previous burns or other injuries. Sometimes these look like a mole and are capable of metastasizing to other areas of the body so you want to monitor closely.
 
The third major category of skin cancer is melanoma, which occurs when skin cells called melanocytes are damaged by ultraviolet radiation and begin to divide out of control. These can be fast or slow growing but need prompt attention. They usually occur in young adults and happen more often in people who have a history of serious sun exposure leading to blisters on more than three to five occasions and occuring between puberty and mid-20s.
 
If caught promptly, virtually all skin cancers have a high rate of cure. What we sometimes tend to forget is that the condition called “cancer” is really just another disease. While it is one that we don’t seem to have a lot of answers for, it is still just a disease — often treatable and curable, depending on location, duration of existing condition, and treatment choices.
 
Cancers, whether skin or otherwise, are caused primarily by chemicals, irritation or radiation. I would add nutritional causes as well due to the fact that a poorly functioning cell membrane does not allow for the ingestion of nutrients nor the excretion of waste products. All of your cells are supposed to take in nutrients and excrete waste products just like your body does. If the cell membrane becomes less fluid due to lack of proper nutrients, it is less able to function normally. The accumulations of waste products in cells may be a contributing factor to any cancer-disease.
 
Now I will tell you one person’s story. Raised in California at a time when no one had ever heard of sunscreens and being a tan teen was the end all and be all, this young woman foolishly and repeatedly got sunburned. Not on purpose, but baby oil provides zero protection from ultraviolet light and is, in fact, petroleum-based mineral oil, which meant and means to this day that it is a toxin to the liver.
 
The sunburns received by this young woman were few and far between but totalled more than five or six during puberty and young adulthood. When the woman was older and had a family, tanning time was lessened so she chose to try a tanning bed. Just once. Something about it didn’t feel natural. And we are still not sure if the light from tanning beds turns on the p53 tumor protector gene.
 
During times of stress, our immune systems are down anyway. During the same year as the one-time-only tanning bed use, there was a death in the family. Therefore, decreased immune system response. This woman who grew up in California and literally played in patches of poison oak had never been irritated by the plant. This time, with immune system less than optimum, a picnic in a patch of poison oak led to a rather strong reaction.
 
Reviewing the scenario, decreased immune function led to unexpected reaction to irritant on the lower leg, which in women is usually exposed to sunlight. Resultilng allopathic medicine barely relieved the itching and a mole on the lower leg that had appeared during puberty became more unusual.
 
Staying on top of the changes, she went to a health fair where free skin exams were being given. This was more than 20 years ago when the rate of melanoma was about 4:100,000 people. The hospital caught two of them that year with their free exams. The woman was one of the lucky ones.
 
The mole was removed — and I’m here more than 20 years later to tell the story. A life-changing story. Never again to a tanning bed. Avoidance of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Self care during times of stress. A healthy diet that keeps cell membranes fluid and properly functioning. Use of sunscreens during peak times of exposure. Daily dosing of Vitamin D, and regular check-ups.
 
If causes of the cancer-disease are chemicals, irritation, radiation, and decreased cell membrane fluidity, then I was lucky. I delved into my studies, became a naturopathic doctor and it totally changed my life. Any kind of cancer can be a turning point in life. It takes time, but eventually you may come to view the challenge as a gift. My life would not have taken the turns that it did if it had not been for a cancer diagnosis.
 
Now I look at that diagnosis as saving the rest of my life. It was like being given a handful of jewels that continues to twinkle and sparkle and show me a new way of living. It was a gift. A chance to re-evaluate life choices and make the right ones. To be the most authentic person for the rest of my life. To give my self to helping others survive difficult diagnoses. To live fully.

While I’d never wish a cancer diagnosis on anyone, I wish a full life for every one of you.
 

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
A Kayak Swap; the Adventure Continues by Luke Will on 08/03/2010
July 24 report

After just over three weeks of paddling we’ve made it about 300 miles from Duluth to Rossport. 

Unfortunately our dream changed shape a bit before we could actually leave Duluth and we had to leave behind our Skin On Frame kayaks that we built.  They still float and work well as a kayak, just not ones intended for an expedition of this magnitude and on a lake of this size. 

From now on they’ll be our “collectible” kayaks meant for eye catching cruises on urban flat, friendly water.

Now we are paddling two plastic Perception brand kayaks with much more storage and stability.  In order to make that decision to leave them we had to clearly identify our main goal with this expedition, and that is to circumnavigate Lake Superior by kayak.  It didn’t matter what kayaks we used to do it, just that we were doing it in a kayak.
 
And so we paddle on.

The first half along the Minnesota shore was hot and sunny.  Burnt and ready for some shade we silently merged into Canada past the Pigeon River and into an archipelago of more than 700 miles stretching from the Sibley Peninsula north of Thunder Bay all the way up to Rossport. 

We made that trip through patches of thick fog, past swimming moose with stops at far tucked away wood stove saunas and small summer communities filled with friendly and helpful people that have already made this trip memorable. 

We’ll help wind up July with a full moon paddle with new friends and their voyageur canoe and a few beers. Then we’ll be paddling on to the east across the true northern section of the lake towards Pukaskwa Park. 

We’ll start to get a mixture of sandy beaches and highland bluffs, along with some cascading rivers emptying into Lake Superior. 

This lake has already shown us a thrilling, and scary, time and we know there’s more to expect.  Only a quarter of the way to completing the circumnavigation.
 
We love this lake.

July 25 report
Lot’s to fill in from the last post from Grand Marais. After much sunny and scorching hot weather along Minnesota’s shore, we finally started seeing some waves and thunderstorms.

First right before Grand Portage (where we got our first cold beer at the casino’s bar) and then a couple days after, we entered into Canada past the Pigeon River.

Searched for and found our first sauna. Well, the location of it at least. It burned down some time ago.

Made a heinous crossing from Pie Island, across Thunder Bay, to the Sleeping Giant where we got caught in and rode the highest winds and biggest waves of our paddling lives.

Surfed onto the best beach we could find just past Thunder Cape. We both got tossed in the white water and ended up on the beach with an assortment of gear lying around us. Everything accounted for and nothing broken (boats or otherwise), we waited out the next two days of a wind advisory hiking the Sleeping Giant.

Finally into Silver Islet. My, what a fantastic little gem! The folks of that summer community (and winter for a lonely few) were so friendly and helpful. Lorne and Joan Saxberg run the General store and put us up next door. We tasted delicious homemade soups and Joan’s fresh “Sin” buns and pushed off with good advice from fellow local paddler Bill Climie (a big thanks to you, sir!).

On our next crossing past the opening to Black Bay we paddled by a swimming moose also making the distance. By then we were in the thick of a large archipelago that stretches from SI up to and just past Rossport which includes around 700 islands. We did the second half of this stretch through patches of fog and without an actual navigational chart in front of us — only the pictures we took of some sailors charts in SI and our trusty tourist “Circle Tour” brochure map from Lake Superior Magazine.

Still, we made it to Rossport last night where we happened to land at the public harbour which is right in front of the Superior Outfitters where our next cache was waiting for us — in a huge box, mostly because it also included our new solar charging equipment.
We met some new friends and talked about our trip on the dock last night. They lent us their truck to drive into town (Schreiber) for laundry, groceries and beer.

Tonight we hope to paddle with them and their voyageur canoe under the full moon to the sound of their traditional paddling songs. We’ll have a few beers with Ray who is hosting us at the shop and probably press on tomorrow morning.

A great expedition indeed.

(Luke updates his blog on the www.superiordream.com site, or you can wait for the next installment in The Mountain Times September edition.)

Mountain Furnace is All Fired Up by Herb Miller on 08/03/2010
Rainfall for July was confined to the first three days, which were also colder than normal, but a week of summer warmth followed after the 5th.

During this period Brightwood had three consecutive days of 90-degree weather, including the peak of 94 on July 8.

Government Camp had two days reaching 87, giving some encouragement to those who may have questioned if summer would ever make it this year.

The last month alternated between cooler and warmer days, until another warm-up came during the last weekend of the month. All-in-all a nice month with temperatures averaging near normal, but rainfall less than half its average.

The National Weather Service is now convinced our area is no longer subject to the previous cool, wet pattern and in fact predicts about average — or perhaps slightly warmer — weather for August with near normal, or possibly a little less than average precipitation.

During August, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, an average low of 51, and a precipitation average of 1.61 inches. During the last 10 years, only the year 2000 failed to have a high reach 90.

The year 2002 had a high of 100, and the remaining eight years all had highs of at least 90. On average, two days reach 90 during the month.

The record high, which is also the all-time record, occured Aug. 8, 1981, with a reading of a scorching 106, followed the next two days with readings also in the 100s.
The record low was 36 registered Aug. 29, 1980.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during August is 68, the average low is 46, and the average precipitation amounts to 1.64 inches.

Four of the last eight years had highs of 90 or more and the others were in the 80s.
A record high of 105 was recorded Aug. 18, 1977, compared to 96 on Aug. 14, 2002, and 95 on Aug. 17, 2008.

The record low of 32 was recorded Aug. 29, 1980, compared to the recent reading of 34 on Aug. 31, 2006.
Vacation Time: Stress or De-stress? by Victoria Larson on 07/02/2010
Ahh, vacation time. Whether you have an away vacation or a “stay-cation” it is time for some much needed renewal. In the United States, more than 58 percent of workers are unhappy with their work. So some sort of break needs to occur that we may renew and refresh ourselves so that we can return with some increased energy to approach the job.
 
Let’s start by being grateful for the jobs we do have. Then take some time while on your vacation to review your level of happiness versus unhappiness. Jobs with no chance for some sort of advancement feel dead-end. But maybe a job that doesn’t change is right for you. There is no judgment here, it’s whatever works for you. Doctoring doesn’t pay well (unless you are a surgeon) but it is very healing and satisfying work. So we do it for the health of it rather than the pay.
 
But if you are spinning your wheels in a job, you may need to take a long, hard look at what you really want out of life. Some jobs are so stressful that getting away for a week will hardly be enough time to get to a sense of calm. While we all inherently know that the modern world moves too fast for the soul, we rarely do anything about it.
 
Most job urgency is self-imposed. Most life urgency is self-imposed. I once had a chemistry teacher who was so enamoured of his work that he slept with a chemistry book under his pillow and told us we could call him at any time of the day or night. While we all thought that was pretty nerdy, he did it because he loved his work.
 
But do you really want to sleep with your Blackberry on your nightstand? Will the world end if you aren’t “on” 24/7? There are times when you need to be available more often. Like when your teenagers are out driving or a family member is not faring well or when a baby is due. But most of life is not that urgent. And it shouldn’t be. Ask yourself why you’re buying into the urgency?
 
Will one day make the difference in the sale of a building? Will two days matter to tell a cousin about the latest party you went to? We do NOT need to be available to everyone all the time. That’s what vacations are for. To get away. And refresh, relax, renew. Even children do better when their parents take breaks from time to time. Show your children that caring for yourself is important. Model the behaviors you want them to follow.
 
One trick to renewal is to make sure you don’t need a vacation after your vacation. Let some things slide. Give yourself some slack. Don’t worry, be happy. My best vacation ever was a 10-day trip to Costa Rica — a guided eco tour where most decisions were pre-made. The biggest decisions included deciding what to eat every day. For the record, I chose the same dinner meal every night. Corvina (fish) and hearts of palm salad. Never were they fixed the same way twice.

Yet every meal was interesting.
 
Other than following the hiking trails and breathing in and breathing out, I relaxed like I’d never done before. Little stress leads to a happy heart. Many studies have shown that meditation is as effective as medical drugs in preventing 50 percent of heart attacks and strokes. Getting those eight hours of sleep a night reduces your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Vacations allow for more sleep if you are not getting enough at home.
 
Vacations give you a chance to put your health at the top of your list. A chance to do it now, instead of waiting for something to go wrong and then re-thinking it all. Think now about how you want to live your life. Start while you are on vacation. Try the local fruits and vegetables. I guarantee every meal will be an adventure if you open yourself up to new experiences.
 
Find something to laugh about. Once in Belgium we were driving around looking for a specific location to have a picnic. The freeway signs were composed of place names that were mostly consonants and totally unpronounceable to the uninitiated. Throwing hands in the air we finally laughed uproariously and pulled off the freeway and had a picnic right there. Maybe not the best place I’ve ever had a picnic but one that is well remembered.
 
There are two things to remember on vacations and about life. 1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. 2) It’s all small stuff. It’s my old mantra all over again. Trust. Believe. Rest. Relax. And I’ve added Laugh to that too!

Have a lovely vacation and come back again.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
A 'Superior' Challenge Provides a Bigger Picture by Luke Will on 07/02/2010
This morning my paddling partner and I tried to depart on our 1,200 mile kayak trip around Lake Superior. I say tried because while the actual departing phase did happen, the first day of travel didn’t last more than 35 minutes and we ended up in a hotel room not a mile from where we put our boats on the water — instead of a campsite 18 miles up the shore like our plan called for.

Complete with a posse of family, friends, and a news crew, we gathered early and loaded our kayaks on a sandy beach protected by a thin spit of land.  After the interviews wrapped up — and a dainty cup of champagne for toasts and boat christening — (we promote dry boating in a wet environment) we climbed in and set off for a grand entrance onto The Lake.

Using the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge over the Duluth canal as our official starting line we paddled through the sloppy mix of rebounding waves and growing chop, emerging past the small lighthouses marking the canal entrance. Heading straight into waves and wind from the east we casually angled left closer to shore and toward the waterfront park where we planned to meet our editors who had been filming with our cameras from the bridge.

Had it not been for my constant focus on keeping steady and upright in the waves I might have noticed the water at my heels.  It wasn’t until I felt it sloshing around near my seat that I realized my feet were indeed wet and then I could tell that my boat’s unstable response was as much because of design as it was due to the amount of water not around my boat, but in my boat.

I was taking on some serious water. We quickly rafted up together and learned that my entire stern was below the water line. I was stunned. Damn.

At maybe a quarter mile out from shore in a huge lake that averages 40 degrees water temperature, I was sinking. So I started pumping. Then we started paddling hard for shore. Three more times before we got there I had to stop to pump out my cockpit.

We crash-landed onto a steep beach of small, smooth rocks in our delicate wooden framed kayaks. Standing next to our nearly swamped boats we assessed the situation and developed a plan to fix the problem. All the while members of our group, whom we’d just said goodbye to, began showing up.

I was amused when one of our editors told me of my brother’s warning to her not to bleep out the F-bombs she was certain to capture on film when they arrived at the scene. As she told me this it occurred to me that I wasn’t tangled up in a fit of anger or disgust. I was disappointed maybe, but not pissed. 

We spent the next hour hauling our gear back to the parking lot and hoisting our kayaks onto roof racks, obviously not about to continue paddling. While everything up to that point had flown by, not just the morning but the entire last week and month, from the moment we recognized our mutual interest in taking a full break from the kayaks for the rest of the day, time instantly slowed back to real time pace.

Now hours later I’ve finally had a chance to relax and debrief recent happenings. It’s been a hectic time full of logistics and plan implementation, so getting a nap and some time to myself was important and naturally it led to some valuable reflection.

At the end of the day — a day where we hoped to see our first bit of distance covered in the direction that would eventually lead us all the way around the largest freshwater lake in the world — I stretched out on a queen bed in front of a flat screen watching the nine o’clock news do a story on us and our official Superior Dream departure this morning. 

It’s a far cry from a tent on a rocky outcrop with the glow of downtown Duluth down the shoreline in the distance. 

But honestly, while I can say I didn’t see the beginning of our adventure unfolding this way, at the same time I feel good about handling it the way we did and for the most part taking our setbacks in stride. We certainly aren’t setting out on this adventure because it’s easy and we know there will be more challenges ahead. 

It’s just nice to take a step back now and then to see the big picture.

(Follow Luke’s travels on his blog: lucaswill.com.)
Summer Makes Halting Arrival by Herb Miller on 07/02/2010
The abundant rainfall during the last week of May resulted in a precipitation total of 10.32 inches in Brightwood — an all-time record for the month.
Government Camp also joined the water party with a total of 10.01 inches, compared to its normal 5.24 inches.

Both locations ended the month with average temperatures nearly 5 degrees below normal.

This cool, wet pattern extended well into the first week of June, and with a few notable exceptions, until the last 10 days of the month when more summer-like weather returned. The cause of this unseasonable cool, wet weather was a series of upper level troughs dropping southward from the Gulf of Alaska.

Rainfall in Brightwood this June has been the greatest since 1981 when the record total of 11.10 inches was recorded.

The National Weather Service doesn’t expect our area to warm up much this July, and forecasts cooler and wetter than average weather.

But the NWS is not infallible, so maybe this is one of those times and we can have a more normal summer.

During July, Brightwood has an average high temperature of 75, and average low of 51 and a precipitation average of 1.37 inches.

During the last 10 years only 2001 failed to have a high reach 90. Four years had highs of 100 or more, including 2006 when a record of 105 was registered July 21.

The remaining five years all recorded a high of at least 90, and on average there are three days reaching that level. A record low of 37 was set in 1981.

In Government Camp, the average high temperature during July is 68, the average low is 46 and the average precipitation amounts to 1.08 inches. During two of the last seven years, highs of 90 or more were recorded, and the other five were in the 80s.

A record high of 99 occurred July 26, 1956, but the 94 just four years ago on July 21 merits recognition.

The record low of 29 was recorded July 2, 1962.
Hydrotherapy: It's Easy, Cheap and Safe by Victoria Larson on 06/03/2010
First there was traditional medicine. All doctors were traditional practitioners. Actually, some practioners were elders in the church. I won’t go back as far as Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, but only as far back as the mid-1800s. Vincent Priessnitz was 17 years old when he was run over by a horse-drawn wagon filled with wood, whereby his ribs were broken. He leaned over a chair to set his ribs and did cold water treatments on himself. Ten days later he was better. And so began early hydrotherapy treatments.
 
Lest you think this was some odd treatment of the time. Priessnitz treated 40,000 people over his lifetime and, for the record, only 45 of them died while under his care. Though he was accused of “sorcery” and his cold water sponges were cut up by authorities, they could not find the so-called “magic” in his treatments. Hydrotherapy became popular, and when Priessnitz died his funeral procession was three miles long.

I take it he was well-liked and appreciated.
 
Along comes Father Sebastian Kneipp, and if you’ve never heard of him you should know that a United States newspaper did a survey in the middle of the 19th century asking people to name the top three most well-known people in the world. The U.S. President was number one and the Chancellor of Germany was number two. Number three was Father Kneipp. In the middle of his life he contracted tuberculosis and healed himself by jumping nightly into the cold waters of the Danube. Unfortunately he would sneak out of the seminary and take a buddy along and this was too much for the church. After gaining priesthood, Kneipp was sent to a very small hamlet in hopes that he wouldn’t get into any more trouble.
 
He became well-known because he treated 200 patients a day. Granted he didn’t have to do chart notes or bill insurance but that amounts to 30 to 40 an hour. A no-nonsense guy, he dispensed his hydrotherapy treatments like his penance. “That’ll be two Hail Marys and five hydrotherapy treatments.” The people he treated got better. The only house call he ever did was for the Pope but there may have been some political pressure there.
 
Benedict Lust (pronounced loosed, which means “joy” in German) also had TB. The doctors of the time were signing his death warrant, in his presence mind you, when he said “forget this.” I’m going to Worishofen to take Father Kneipp’s water treatments. It took eight months of treatments but he too was cured of tuberculosis. With the mission statement that “the human body should be well at all times” he got permission from Father Kneipp to take his hydrotherapy treatments to the United States.
 
In the U.S. he started up hydrotherapy resorts. Lest you think people were pampered there like today’s spas, I would have to say they weren’t. Up at 4 a.m. for breakfast of fruit and off to a few hours of exercise, lectures, massage or other pursuits. All meals were vegetarian and bedtime was 9 p.m. That part alone would have made people pretty healthy, but included in the day were hours and hours of hydrotherapy treatments. Eight hours to be exact. Could be done in 10 minute to half hour segments rather than all at once, but it still amounted to eight hours of hydrotherapy. With cold water. Still the people got better.
 
Historic hydrotherapists like Dr. Lindlahr, Dr. Ledoux, and Dr. Lust were all using Father Kneipp’s treatments. Dr. Lust went to medical school where he was teased mercilessly for his beliefs. So he started the first specifically naturopathic college in the U.S. in 1901. The school attracted PhDs from Columbia University and they trained 8,000 Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). There were many such schools at the turn of the century.
 
Learning under the above mentioned doctors, Otis G. Carroll became a proponent of the hydrotherapy treatments of Kneipp. Most of the United States was being represented with locations like Youngborn in New Jersey and another in Tangerine, Florida where hydrotherapy treatments were the order of the day. But the northwest was not being served, so upon graduation, Dr. Carroll came to the northwest and added his own spin to hydrotherapy treatments. He believed that better health came through better digestion and his belief was “if the treatment fails, you’re doing something wrong.”
 
Dr. O.G. Carroll taught Dr. Harold Dick who was a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Dick added herbs and nutrition to his hydrotherapy treatments but still felt that the hydrotherapy was the strongest protocol. He was unassumedly humorous and I used to enjoy watching tapes of him when I was in school. Dr. Dick taught Dr. Jared Zeff who started teaching at the National College right after graduation and up until 1998.
 
I was Dr. Zeff’s student and on his last day of teaching, I vowed to carry on the traditional medicine as well, a task I’d actually begun my first few months in school at what is now known as the National College of Natural Medicine. I knew the power of hydrotherapy from first hand experience. The story of how I became such a strong believer is interesting.
 
My husband was a writer and had gone on a promotional tour for his books where he was signing autographs and shaking hands for hours at a time. When I picked him up at the ariport I was somewhat surprised when he allowed me to carry his bags. He was a regular kind of guy and not usually likely to let me do so. Also, he usually liked to be in the driver’s seat when we were both in the car, so I was surprised a second time when he said I could drive.
 
I was pondering this while listening to him describe his trip. It was on the drive home when he said the only problem was this red line running up his arm. I glanced over to see the line up to the middle of his upper arm. I was raised in the same world you were and that meant blood poisoning and a trip to the ER. I hesitated but went straight home, the whole time asking myself if I really believed in Naturopathic medicine. After all, I was only four months into Dr. Zeff’s teachings.
 
Only a half hour from the airport, upon reaching home I immediately put him into a very hot bath with a bowl of ice water for him to put his hand in. I gave him two homeopathics and this being a weekend went out to call the doctor on call (an ND). The on-call doc told me to do hydrotherapy treatments and give him the two homeopathics I’d already given him and call in an hour if he wasn’t improving. By the time I got back to bathside, the line was down to his forearm and by the time he got out of the bath it was at his wrist. We were out of the woods.
 
No trip to the ER, no panic, no insurance to bill, no money spent. Relief was not only in sight, it was swift and total. I was now hooked on hydrotherapy too. Dr. Zeff will always be my mentor. Other doctors in my profession are my mentors too. I was just at a talk where our featured speaker was 89 years old. She just retired from her practice last year because she broke her back. For the record, she drove two hours each way each day to go to school, while raising six kids after her husband died.
 
The funny thing about the weekend presentations was that I was one of the speakers. My colleagues and I were all wondering how we got to be the elders of our profession! Especially since not a one of us feels at all old. And fortunately or unfortunately, not a one of us acts our age either. In fact, I feel better now than I did when I was half my age. To top it off, my grandkids all think I’m nine years old (somewhere in the middle of their ages) and they will often ask their parents if “Nana can come over and play.”
 
Hydrotherapy is easy, cheap, and safe. Naturopathic medicine is also easy if you decide to participate in your own health. Price depends on how sick you might be and how compliant you are. Safety far outreaches a faceless box that doesn’t ask about you as an individual. And that’s the explanation for why I’m so hooked on hydrotherapy and natural medicine.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
Gray Hair: Stress or too Much Midnight Chocolate Milk? by Luke Will on 06/03/2010
On a recent night with the nearly full moon glaring in through every window, seemingly on all four sides of the house, I was not meant to sleep just yet. And so at one in the morning I stirred myself up a glass of chocolate milk and slid out into the front yard with the dog.  We moved down the walk, passed the hammock that has found its place for the summer, by the lilac hedges that weeks ago signaled the changing season, and into the middle of the street I grew up on.

It was the perfect time of night on the perfect kind of night. Late enough to go collar-less but not so to eliminate the deep throttle of a biker shifting into second gear on the nearby highway that splits through town. 

In my flip-flops I meandered down a cross street casually eyeing the rabbits that Tischer was not. To my dismay, she was more interested in turning back at the alley that leads home, having become one of two things in the past six months of urban living: either bored or, ironically enough, afraid. I took her out of her element and possibly her livelihood, to this affect, but I can’t blame her for that. I did the same thing to myself.
And right then, with that on my mind, something odd happened.  I felt a single hair on my head – thick, curly, and brown as ever – turn gray.  And if that weren’t bad enough, like dandruff under a black light, I sensed the new convert reflect along with the rest of the dispersed crowd under the brilliant moon.

Grays have been popping up on my head for the better part of a decade now, their frequency and length directly proportionate to the number of times they get pointed out to me and to how long I think about it after said observation.  They remind me of aging and how my forehead burns when I wear a visor now and my achy knees.

If you removed all my non-gray hair you’d see what would amount to a really scraggly version of a reverse bowl cut.  OK, so it’s not that bad. But at that moment, I resolved to understand why the grays are invading. Maybe, I thought, if it was for a good reason I wouldn’t need to dwell on it.

The earliest ones I once upon a time blamed on an old girlfriend. The very first one I ever found, which happened to catch the light just right as I was looking in the mirror, I looked at her and said, “you did this to me.” She laughed and we broke up seven months later, or something like that.

But perhaps they come well earned from more important things than lost love or lost bets?  Maybe the handful of silver stems on my noggin come from the very details that make thrilling stories? The stories epic enough to enthrall my listeners but have still allowed me to be here to do the enthralling.

Or could the number of gray hairs on my head just be a direct result of overloading on carbs? Or drinking chocolate milk after midnight? Or maybe it’s tied to something more meaningful, like karma or my soul.

Could it be from stress? If so, the only suspense for me of late has been over hand building my own kayak so I can paddle it around Lake Superior.  It’s enough to make you take it seriously but not enough to spark a gray uprising.

The theories were flying all around me but I couldn’t accept any just one.

There standing under the glow of an orange streetlight, wondering how it was even triggered given the lack of darkness, I encouraged her towards me to finish our walk.  As she eased in my direction her stride was reassured at the call of a loon carrying over from the lake.
 
It was a moment of familiarity that quickly ushered away my bothersome mood over Tischer’s transformation, and mine. What it left me with was a clear summer night free of bugs, just me and my dog and the moon to guide us through the neighborhood.

(Follow Luke’s travels on his blog: lucaswill.com.)
May Snow Blows Over by Herb Miller on 06/03/2010
The first week of May was cold and wet and Brightwood recorded a 2-inch snowfall on the 5th, the first time ever to receive measurable snow in May. Government Camp added 10 inches of renewed snowdepth as well.

A week of warm weather started on the 13th, giving encouragement that summer was on the way. But cold, unsettled weather returned for the rest of the month ending with temperatures averaging more than 3 degrees below normal. A late-season storm produced high winds causing numerous power outages on the 19th. The Hoodland area lost power for nearly 12 hours following a peak gust of 19 mph reported at 9:32 a.m. by the Brightwood weigh station. Government Camp had a peak gust of 28 mph at 11:48 a.m.

The big news with the National Weather Service is their report that the El Nino conditions have dissipated and will not be a factor in their forecast. Our area is expected to have a cool start for the first part of June, followed by a warmer period later in the month, resulting in temperatures averaging about normal for the month with average precipitation.

During June the Hoodland area has an average high temperature of 68, an average low of 48, with 4.08 inches of precipitation. Two of the last 10 years had highs of 100, four years reached into the 90s, and only one year failed to get above the 70s. The record high for June is 100 recorded the 26th in 2006 and on the 28th in 2008. During the last 10 years, lows have dipped into the 30s during five years with the record low of 35 recorded June 11, 1981, closely approached only two years ago when a low of 36 was hit on the 15th.

During June, Government Camp has an average high of 59, an average low of 40, and a precipitation average of 3.88 inches — including 0.6 inches of snow. During the past seven years highs reached into the 80s on four occasions and into the 70s three years.
 
Only one year had a low falling into the 20s when a reading of 29 occurred in 2008, the same year 3 inches of snow fell on the 10th. The record high of 92 was read June 17, 1961. The record low occurred June 3, 1963 with 23 degrees. Record snowfall was the 6 inches measured June 5, 1995, followed the next day with another 5 inches. Latest snowfall on record was the 2 inches measured June 23, 1993.
MOUNTAIN WEATHER/APRIL-MAY by Herb Miller on 05/02/2010
To the delight of many skiers and snowboarders, wintry weather returned during the last four days of March, extending beyond for another eight days into April.

For the record, Brightwood ended March with precipitation totaling an even 10 inches, nearly 2.5 inches above average. Government Camp added 20 inches of snow, ending March with a snowfall total of 36 inches and a precipitation total of 9.56 inches.

Additional snowfall during early April resulted in a snow depth of 42 inches on April 10, compared to only three inches March 29.

Even with greater snowfall totals in the higher elevations, fears of a severe water shortage next summer have eased considerably. Following the wintry period, weather more typical of April took over with sunny periods appearing between the rain drops.

The National Weather Service routinely issues its outlook for the coming month on the 20th, followed later by an end-of-month revision. The current revision included the wording: “Unfortunately … the flow pattern has changed,” and went on to forecast cooler than average temperatures for April over the entire west coast, contradicting their earlier forecast of warmer temperatures.

No meaningful explanation was made to explain why their earlier forecast was so far off base, other than to assert late season sometimes affects the El Nino influence.

For May, less reliance is given to El Nino — now weakening — and more reliance is made on other forecasting tools which predict warmer than average temperatures with above average precipitation for our area.

In May the Hoodland area has an average high of 63, low of 43, with 5.65 inches of precipitation. During the last 10 years, highs have reached into the 90s four years, the 80s four years, and twice into the 70s. The record high of 99 was recorded May 6, 1987, followed the next day by 98. Freezing temperatures have occurred during five of the last 10 years, the season’s latest being 28 on May 17, 1998. The latest snowfall was a trace on May 6, 2002.

In May, Government Camp has an average high of 53, low of 35, and 5.24 inches of precipitation — including 6-plus inches of snow. During the past seven years, only 2004 failed to have a high reach above 60. Two others had highs into the 80s and the other four reached into the 70s. The record high of 93 was attained May 31, 1986. The record low was recorded way back in 1954 with a reading of 18. Record snowfall was only a few years ago when 13 inches fell on May 11, 2000.
WHAT PRICE TAG CAN WE PUT ON OUR HEALTH by Victoria Larson on 05/02/2010
Before the Industrial Revolution all industry was fueled by biomass. That means virtually all humans worked. Human work is fueled by the input of food. Most people grew their own food or traded with those who grew for them. Farms used animals to help produce the biomass (food) for the humans and for the animals. Animals need food fuel in order to work too. Homes were heated by wood, another form of biomass. A fairly balanced system of energy input, energy output.

Along came the Industrial Revolution and the balance tipped. More “work” could be done by machines. It seemed wonderful and in many ways it was. But over time it slanted our view of gainful work. Energy input no longer closely matched energy output. We would all get rich and have lots of leisure time.

What went wrong? Are you rich? Do you have lots of leisure time? I know some of you do, but the majority of our population is feeling pinched.

Elliot Coleman (his latest book is entitled The Winter Harvest Handbook) speaks at graduation ceremonies reminding his audiences that “the only species on earth that is not gainfully employed at all times is humans.” All the other species are in constant pursuit of food in order to live. We think food comes from someone and somewhere else. Like a store. In reality, your food comes from the earth. Whether you are vegetarian or not. Animals eat plants in order to live. It all comes from the earth, not from the grocery store.

Yet now we believe that we must work at some job in order to pay money to someone else in order to have the necessities of life. The necessessities of life are air, food, shelter, water and human connection. Of those five listed necessities, three are virtually free (air, water and human connection). Shelter and food are our biggest expenses. Yet in the 1930s Americans spent almost a third of their income on food. And they didn’t have much income. Americans now spend one-tenth of their income on food. Many spend more on electronic devices than on food.

That’s a big oops!

A member of the younger geneeration actually asked me how I can conduct a business without a computer. She’s too young to even know about the world before electronic devices. As if we would starve without our cellphones. Check your expenses carefully. Are you spending more on “toys” than on food? Many people are. And it just doesn’t lead to a satisfying life.

Statistically, Americans list “money” or “wealth” as a key component of happiness. Though in England, 71 percent of the citizens said that quality of life was most dependent on health (#!) and a supportive relationship was #2. In Denmark, Ireland and Italy, income level came in 7th or 8th on their list of requirements for a satisfying quality of life. France and Holland apparently didn’t rate income level as at all important.

In fact, a very interesting research report found that money “buys” happiness up to about $10,000 per person, per year. For the record, that’s considered poverty level in the United States and many, many people are living at that level. The research continued to find that an income level above $10,000 per person, per year does not lead to increased happiness (Bill McKibben, Deep Economy, 2007).

So our deep level of unhappiness does not really relate to income level. If you think about it, health is probably really number one to you too. For without health you do not have a good quality of life. That is where we Americans fall down. We were once considered one of the healthiest nations on earth. We are now 39th on that list. We are 13th on quality of life. And we are 51st in environmental sustainability.

No wonder there’s so much deperession and anxiety.

There’s a new “movement” afoot called ecological economics. Many people have dropped their standards in order to buy cheaper food in order to feed their families.
But what does “cheaper” food mean if it’s been shipped 1,500-3,000 miles to get to you? That is the average distance your food has been shipped if you shop primarily in grocery stores. Check the labels. Check the country of origin of your food.

Food shipped this far cannot, by definition, be fresh.

Now think about the “cost” of that food to the environment. Let me be more specific. Your environment. Fossil fuel brought that food to you. This food has probably been fumigated at the docks at both ends. It may have been irradiated, a practice that need not be revealed and may have longterm effects we know nothing about. What does the degradation of the environment do to your health. And what does said food do to your health.

So time to get out the shovel and spade. Grow something. You will gain physical health, time for contemplation, fresh, organic food for the price of a few seeds, and you’ll have the satisfaction of being your own boss! There are only two ways to survive the economic downturn. Earn more or spend less. You’ll be spending less on food at the supermarket, less on gym memberships, less on psychiatrists.

Your health will improve.

And just being healthier means you’ll be happier. 

Though money is important to some extent, what we really need in our lives is health, connection, reality, authenticity, time in nature, grace, joy.

These things come from you and those around you and what you expose yourself to. Get your priorities straight.

And know that I”m here to help you with it. Trust, believe, rest, relax.

(Dr. Victoria Larson, a Naturopathic doctor, practices in Sandy. Call for appointment: 668-1181.)
SOME TENDER LOVING CARE AND IT'S BACK TO 'LOOSE DESCENTS' by Luke Will on 05/02/2010
A new season means a new mountain bike. No, this isn’t a routine for me. Actually this spring is the first time I’ve been so lucky, and it’s really only new to me.
 
Across beaver dams in northern Minnesota, zinging down slivers of single track in Colorado and heaving up the Crosstown Trail behind Govy I’ve been peddling the same rigid bike for nearly 15 years.  I got it just before I got my drivers license.

Despite the change in my frame from an angsty teen to a borderline 30 year old, I made do without a complaint or hint of betrayal. And with the never ending saddle stem came years of dedicated use from mountain town commutes to loose scree descents.

You don’t have to believe it, I barely do.  

The process by which this new bike came to be mine started with a successful bid on a police impound item — and subsequent generous gift from the winner to me. It happened last fall on my final day in Seward, Alaska. Removing the bike from its chain link cell beside the jail, we noticed some rust. When I tried to ride it I teetered mid-air, frozen in time, unable to move the pedals. 
 
Walking it to my truck, I found the saddle quick release was seized. That wasn’t the only thing. Storing any kind of device with metal moving parts outside in a temperate rainforest will do that. 

After some serious grunting I mustered just enough torque to free the front wheel. I wondered if this was a dire situation. But I was pleased to have it and hinged my excitement on a totally blind faith that it could be either stripped for parts or restored, if not by me then someone else.

Waving out the window, I drove out of town with a loaded truck and that newly acquired derelict bike strapped with bungees and P-cord between my original bike and the space booster box that adorns my roof rack. 4,400 miles later I tucked it into my parents basement for hibernation caked with splattered bugs and dust.
 
All winter it sat down there.  And then came the first days of mild warmth amid thawing snow banks. I pulled it out into the sun and began wrenching on it, scraping myself and cursing as I slowly stripped it down to a bare frame. I saved the disc brakes and sprockets hoping they could be used later in its resurrection.

My cousin’s boyfriend is a mechanic at a bike co-op in the city and fortunately he offered to help me. With a 12-pack of beer and after hours access to his shop we worked into the wee hours of the morning dissecting, cleaning, greasing, replacing when need be, and rebuilding the bike that had traveled so far.

It turned out most of the original components were salvageable, just in need of some major tender loving care.

I rode out the back door of the shop and took some eager laps around the parking lot, hopping on curbs and soothing my new brake pads. It’s the first front suspension bike I’ve ever owned.
 
So where do I ride my new mountain bike? On my uncle’s farm, of course. I won’t go as far as saying that’s how we do things here in the Midwest because that isn’t true. There is good single track and otherwise around, technical and steep in some places.
 
But I am more intrigued with skirting his fields of corn and beans on my bike because it is so different. Not from other places I’ve ridden (though undeniably true also) but because his farm is where I learned to hunt years ago, it’s where I’ve hiked and searched for sheds and where we rode four wheelers and had family booyahs and where I’ve watched timeless World Series games, but it’s never been where I rode a bike.
Never have I flung mud splashing through that small creek flowing in the back ditch.

Never have I hooted bombing into the left behind stalks of dried corn. Never have I seen his farm on an efficient 9-speed.

Doing so has added another dimension to a piece of property rich with personal history and has furthered my connection to his place. And that is very satisfying. Even more so than my new mountain bike.

(Follow Luke’s travels on his blog: lucaswill.com)

It's April the First, But No Need to be a Fool by Victoria Larson on 04/03/2010
An unfortunate story appeared in the San Diego News Network January 12. Equally unfortunately it’s also a sign of the times. If you are a computer user, you no doubt get tons of ads for “online drugs.” Yup, they’re out there. And people are buying them. Alas, you do not always know what you are getting when you do.
 
Witness the sad story of a patient in my first year of practice. This male patient came to me with a colorful copy of an Internet ad for a product to help with his high blood pressure. Being impatient (a contributing cause of high blood pressure itself) he wanted overnite results. He was there to ask my professional opinion about the product and to see if I thought he should purchase it online.
 
Temporarily putting aside the issue of giving support to your local practitioners, I