One more eclipse story

And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

— Roger Waters, “Eclipse” from Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”

The sun eclipsed by the moon, Aug. 21, 2017, Albany, Ore. Photo by Debbie Cockrell

The eclipse coincided with my birthday. I took Amtrak to Albany, Ore., the day before and fretted as the train passed Salem, Ore., and the haze/clouds seem to get. thicker. But, I did see a hint of blue sky ahead. Jim had arrived a week ahead of time for his own work, but sending me pictures of scenes around town prior to my arrival. Continue reading “One more eclipse story”


The time to decide is today

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Screenshot of NASA’s home page Friday.

If you’re going to make a trip to an eclipse totality zone, say in Oregon, it’s go time. Here is my article today on how to get it together.

Madras, Ore., already is seeing the influx with a festival just outside town.

The forecast is promising: “Intermountain West still looks like the best viewing conditions, but the area from St. Louis to Nashville is a close second,” writes The Washington Post today.

And if you need any more convincing, here’s a TED Talk on why everyone owes it to themselves to see a total solar eclipse before they die. 

Just go. If you’re not up for a big car trip, get as close as you can to the path of totality. Go outside, put on your protective glasses, and just experience it. If you didn’t get the glasses, grab something with pinholes (a colander, for example.) Place an index card in front of you as the screen. Have your back to the sun and hold the colander beside your head, aiming at the card. Congratulations, you have an instant pinhole projector to watch the eclipse phases.

This is a phenomenon unlike any other. Don’t waste this moment with a normal schedule of a Monday doing mundane things, indoors or in a car.

Here’s a schedule of when it will be in your part of the country. Now you have no excuse for missing it.

Remember the Apollo moon landing. 1969 wasn’t such a jolly year for our country, either. But for that moment, when the astronauts landed, we stopped and watched, in awe.

This is one of those times.

Get outside.

More of my eclipse coverage here.

New job title and a blog reboot

My favorite place on Earth. Mount Rainier, 2014

Hey, I’m back! Just a quick note that I’m now reporting for my longtime employer, The News Tribune in Tacoma, after working as business section team leader since 2011. Our newsroom is changing, and I asked to change along with it. Here’s my (sort of) first bylined report. I’ve gone by another moniker “Staff Report” in the past when I was section editor and needed to write about gas prices and such.

The story below is not for those fit and trim seniors, of which maybe there are a handful in the country. This is for the rest of us, seniors or not, as a reminder to keep moving and get out there and hike according to your ability like your life depended on it, because it does.

And for the regular readers of this blog (sorry it’s taken so long to get back) I’ve got some catching up to do with you, I realize that. More to come. Soon.

The magical art of silence

I’m late to the party of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The author already has written a sequel to her first book. Luckily, the quietude of our new surroundings (and the fact that exterior home improvement has to wait for a better month than January) is now allowing me to catch up with things I’ve meant to learn more about. This is Marie Kondo’s answer to excess: Toss almost everything and keep only what sparks joy (which may or may not spark joy tomorrow, so more stuff to toss). For many, it seems draconian. Really, it’s common sense. Her best advice is to start with culling your clothes and move up the chain of possession sentimentality; I actually think that’s smart because I lived it last year without even knowing I was practicing “KonMari.”  Continue reading “The magical art of silence”

Chocolate frosting from beans

IMG_1831This is lightning in a bottle … or frosting on your cake! Better than store-bought frosting and you won’t be able to tell the difference by taste. This cost me a grand total of 79 cents to make for the can of beans purchased. You can buy boxed packets of stevia for under $10. I use NuNaturals. Continue reading “Chocolate frosting from beans”

A new spin on Fiesta Salad and the magic of miso in dressings

Impromptu Fiesta Salad.
Impromptu Fiesta Salad.

It is now officially hot in the Northwest. Temps are hitting the 90s and today will have the added bonus of humidity. This salad used to be our go-to hot weather dish even before we went plant-based, and I’ve modified it beyond the old salad-with-a-bottle-of-Catalina-dressing version. Now it uses miso, and you would never know the difference! If you already have a salad made and a can of beans on hand, this comes together in a flash. Continue reading “A new spin on Fiesta Salad and the magic of miso in dressings”

Savory Oatmeal on Meatless Monday

Savory oatmeal.
Savory oatmeal.

You hear a lot of talk about “Meatless Monday” on social media. Here’s a different recipe that is plant-based and might inspire you to branch out and go meatless on your Monday … maybe for the first time ever. This recipe is affordable, quick, and so easy that you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen now.

Continue reading “Savory Oatmeal on Meatless Monday”