Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bend: Breakfast and clouds

I worked inside most of the day, so my time outside consisted mostly of breakfast in the morning and clouds at sunset. Both were teriffic. Above is a lighting fixture that looks like a snowball, or something like that. It was homey and comforting inside Nancy P's.

This is about what's left of the snow at the moment. Fun to have around, but not that pretty any more to look at.

Although mostly dry, it's chilly, so breakfast outside didn't seem to appealing. Inside all of the tables were full. One cleared out just at the moment we were ready for it. Perfect. And then I worked on web pages for the gift shop most of the day making changes, taking down sold-out items and adding bigger pictures to the page of wooden animal pens. I talked to Sue on the phone, but the connection was worse than usual. It was pouring buckets in Astoria, and she and Barbara both left early. It was already flooding in Naselle, where Barbara was headed.

The clouds were so dark and massive against the bright evening sky when Lee and I went out to pick up his car from the body shop where it had been fixed after someone had knocked into it in a parking lot. It was warm coat weather, but not all that cold compared to what it has been here.

I'm always fascinated by lenticular clouds. They form over mountains and have the most wonderful smooth shapes. Sometimes they look like flying saucers. I liked the way this one floated above the dark, heavy clouds below. There's a deep, almost mystical darkness among the trees that counters the brightness of the sky. It's hard to describe. You almost have to crawl into the picture to feel it. Try blowing it up by clicking on it.

This cloud caught my attention. It was enticing. I asked Lee to stop the car. We'd just passed the best viewing spot, but, in socks and sandals, I scrambled up the soggy mud of the embankment near the railroad tracks only to find that trees were in the way. I scrambled down the other side onto the tracks and ran for a bit until there was a clearing and tried to get the best exposure I could. Four pre-teen boys came alongside on bikes, wondering why I was taking pictures of the sky. I told them I liked the colors and the shapes of the clouds and I would put them on my blog. They knew what that was, and we talked about how fast the clouds change, and about the beautiful colors. It tickled me that these kids seemed to relate. In a few years, I thought, they might have none of it. And then the boy in a green shirt who had reached me first said, "I saw a cloud one time that looked like a heart." This was nice. I didn't stay long, though, because I'd left Lee along the roadside when I'd quickly disappeared into the railroad culvert and I didn't want him to worry.

This lovely reflection in a puddle along the roadside was my reward for being out there on foot at this time of day.

Moon and pine. A nice ending for the day.

Or maybe this is the end. Taken from the parking lot where Lee got his car fixed.

NOTE (January 10, 2009): It seems that some of the most disturbing parts of the law that I'm ranting about below have been changed, but it remains to be seen what happens with the rest of it, and how much was actually changed, how much will be enforced, etc. I have not read the law yet, it's just what little I've heard on the news. Here goes:

OK now, totally changing the subject here - an unfortunate end to a post filled with pretty clouds. There's something I should be talking about because it was in the news today and will affect so, so many people, virually everyone. I don't want to say much until I learn more, but I spent a lot of time thinking about it after I'd read an article in the Bend Bulletin this morning. On February 10th, there will be a new, much stricter and probably very stupid law about testing children's products for lead. Of course kids should be protected from lead poisoning, who wouldn't agree to that? But from what I've heard so far, this law is so far over the top it's hard to believe. Is it true that EVERY product sold for use by a child 12 and under must be tested even though the manufacturing process INVOLVES NO USE OF LEAD? Are we kidding? As of February 10th, they have to test kiddie t-shirts and stuffed animals for lead? With new products, that's expensive and may kill certain types of small business, but the most pathetic waste will occur at the family and craftsperson level. As I understand it, this law will effectively prevent crafters from selling knitted sweaters and blankets for babies and children anywhere - such as on eBay - because it will be illegal to buy or sell clothing and toys that have not been tested or cannot be proven to have been tested for lead for the use of anyone under the age of 12. Who's going to pay to test individual items? Will this law take away major funding sources for charities who rely on donations of clothing for thrift shops and garage sales? I cannot think that the lawmakers would want this if they they had given the consequences a moment's thought. I read that only three US Senators had the courage to vote "No," and Obama abstained. I think I'm still in denial, hoping it's not really going to be that bad, that I've misunderstood it, or that it will go away. What about the many parents and grandparents who buy kids' clothing and toys at thrift shops and garage sales? What about the people who make a few bucks selling their used things at garage sales? What about flea markets? Will a parent really not be able to get a used sweatshirt for 50 cents or a dollar any more? Good god. Regular toy and clothing stores may fare better, because they buy from vendors who can test the products in lots - but prices, already high, will be forced to go up yet again. The provisions sound completely crazy. I'll find out more before I go on a real rant. I hope this is just a bad dream.

No comments: