Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Short musings on my first day of retirement

 So, yesterday morning, my first full day of retirement, I woke at 7AM.  I showered and then wandered into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Great leisurely breakfast.  I like this.  

Morning hours spent doing minor chores. By lunch time I was looking for some quiet time.  After a nice lunch with my wife, I settled down to read. 

About 3PM I was in need of a nap.  I sat in my chair and closed my eyes.  Thirty minutes later my wife comes out of her office.  "You just couldn't resist, could you?" 

"Hey, I was tired when I woke up this morning.  But now, this afternoon, I got re-tired."  

I don't think she got it.  


Friday, January 8, 2021

Tommy Lasorda RIP, age 93.

Today I hear the news of the passing of Tommy Lasorda.  He was an amazing baseball manager.  I had a lot of respect for him and I loved to root against his team when they came to play my team.  Hey, that is the good spirited element of sports.  Still, you can't argue with his success.  And who can forget him being knocked over by a foul ball in that All-Star game?  Classic. 

I wrote this many years ago.  It was out of respect to him.  


First Day of the Rest of My Life

 Cliche warning:  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  A new beginning. I retired from my career yesterday. My department was really great in giving me a virtual send-off. It was nice seeing all my co-workers on the z**m call. It was a very nice send-off.  

I went to the office -the empty, vacant office - and turned in my computer and assorted equipment.  Turned over my notes on tasks to my boss. Left my badge and secure ID with the security guard and my career is over, done, kaput, complete. I set out to do what I wanted. I was a professional writer.  Check that box on the bucket list.  

Years ago while camping with a church group, I remember wishing on a falling star. I wished to be a writer.  Never doing much really to work towards that goal. Writing at my desk late at night.  Never revising.  Bad poetry, some essays, three lousy stories. Ideas. Lots of ideas. Papers stuffed in manila folders for future reference, or future sweat. I wished. I dreamed.  

I am a lazy writer.  I waited for inspiration.  Some works come from deep in my subconscious, late at night when the distractions have faded, or are non-existent.  I thought that was how writers wrote.  So, I waited for those moments. The more life got complicated the less often those moments showed up.

As a way to realize my dream, my wish, I sat in a writing seminar with "The Writer's Ink" in San Diego. The instructor had just described a term which described what kind of writer I am. Hypnagogia. A state of mind between wakefullness and sleep. I have some of my best ideas at this time, if I muster the energy and strength to get up out of bed and go write.  Some ideas are just lost.  "I'll write them down tomorrow,"  I always tell myself.  Most of the time that is just me lying to myself.  Sleep makes me forget my best ideas.  

Instructors tell you to have a notebook next to your bed.  Yeah, and turn on the light to write stuff down.  Wake your partner.   Wake the pets, who think it is morning and want food.  Or, as I get older, I have to fumble around in the dark for my glasses so I can find the notepad and pen.  Whatever happens, I never seem to catch all the hypnagogic ideas.  Some I do.  Sometimes I get up and go to my desk and write for 20 minutes, or an hour.  Mostly, I get short quatrains, or small 20-liners that I believe are so profound and beautiful that no one wants to publish them.  

But, I ramble. I wished to be a writer. I look back now and I realize I should have been more specific. I should have wished to be a best-selling writer, or a great literary writer. But all I wished for was to be a "writer". And so, yesterday I retired from my career as a technical writer of aerospace procedures. I was a  professional writer. I guess wishes and dreams do come true.  

 So, now onto the next dream.  If it weren't so rainy up here in the Pacific Northwest I would go sit outside and look for falling stars.  The next one I see I will wish for that best-selling author status, or that world renowned poet title.  But since it is rainy and cold I will toil away at my desk, til night fall and bedtime and hope that I am not too tired for the hypnagogia to lure me to creativity.  


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Our Columbia River Adventure

Update:  This was actually several months ago, in September, before the cruise stopped for the winter season.  I forgot to post it at that time.  


My wife and I decided to take a cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler for a nice brunch.  It was such a gorgeous day.  We love our life. 

The Cascade Locks cruise is a great adventure.  It runs about two hours.  The first half is going upriver towards Hood River.  The narration points out the rounded core of an old volcano, which today just looks like a round hill.  The cruise turns about just about two miles east of our house.  And it was great to see Government Island, Government Cove, and the entrance to Herman Creek. 

Usually there is a lot of traffic on the river.  Sailboarders, windsurfers, and sailboats all love the gorge winds.  It makes for an adventurous ride.  A lot of the windsurfers have these boards with a small hydrofoil underneath.  One windsurfer told me that the hydrofoil provides lift that raises the surfer out of the water for a smoother ride.  “It is like flying,” he said.  After he said that I always looked it with even more awe than my original interest.  “Someday”, I dreamed. 

But while on our cruise my wife came back to our table with a picture of the wake boarders out this morning and afternoon. I followed my wife out the aft to watch the sternwheeler.  Then I, too, saw the wake boarders.  AMAZING.  They were using a small raft boat to tow them into the wake of the stern wheel and then they would glide along in the surf for, what seems to be quite the ride.  It is a site to see.  If the boarders fell in the water, the boat would circle around and then the boarders would grab the tow rope again, and in less than a minute or two, the boarders were back in the wake, surfing, “flying”.

I captured two short videos of those rides, but they may be too large to post here.  The first video is of our trip down river.  The second video is of our trip heading back to the dock.  In the second video you can see Bonneville Dam in the background.  I hope you like these two videos.  Maybe it will inspire you to come and visit the Columbia River Gorge. 




 For Christmas my wife gave me a window planter for micro greens.  It was an amazing gift. I was so excited about it that I planted seeds the very next day. 

Two days later the seeds began to sprout.  And the taller they got the more they started to lean.  They would be very sprightly, standing tall (3 inches), and then, as the sun would rise the little sprouts would lean in unison towards the sun.  Little living creatures thriving for life.  All the day long they sway to the sun.  The little sprouts are dancing on my sill.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

2020 = 366 days of wonder

As in, I wonder, can it get any worse? 

Today, day 260 of the year from hell.  Today, day 190 of this pseudo-quarantine, "wear a mask" pandemic.  And, to top it off, day 9 of the "stay indoors on account of the worst air on the planet" warnings.  

Some wildfires in our area are forcing us into further quarantine.  We must stay in our homes.  

I find that a blessing these days.  At least we have a home to go to.  Some have lost their homes.  And for some, it really has been the end of the world.  

We are the lucky ones.  We can learn from the smoke.  We can learn from the pandemic.  We can learn from our misfortune. And we can learn from our fortune.  

We are the lucky ones. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

For Maria

For Maria

To my friend, Maria. Thanks for the gesture.

A pocketful of petals
They were given to me.
Petals in a pocket,
A simple pleasantry.

Alas, Pleasure becomes dismay.
Too soon the rose fades away.
Be still, my heart, find peace.
The spirit of the gift you'll keep.

Copyright 1999.  David Normand      From The Romantic Bower

The other day, on my birthday, while sipping my morning coffee, I was treated to a view of the ducks on the Columbia River having their breakfast.  It struck me that a pleasant breakfast for some birds may not be the same for other animals, like some fish and insects.  Some days might not be as pleasant for others. 

I told myself that life isn't always a bed of roses.

Into each life some rain must fall.  And this morning some rain fell in mine.  I learned of the passing of my friend, Maria. She was an artist, a sweet lady, a friend who, truthfully, I had not seen in a few years.  But I always felt strongly for her.  And those eyes, Maria had the most beautiful eyes. 

She was my muse.  She inspired me to write the first poem I ever sold. The one I titled for her.  For Maria, "Pleasure becomes dismay/Too soon the rose fades away." The dreaded cancer steals another young soul.  She was way too young.

Just a few weeks ago she crossed my mind again.  My daughter had rescued some feral cats just like Maria did when she lived near us in California.  I have been thinking of her lately, within the last few weeks. I remembered that heart.  She was such a kind person. 

I am glad to have known her.   I am glad she was in my life.  It is not the same world knowing she is gone.  I wish you peace, my friend. 


Updated:  November 1, 2020
Several days after I wrote the above blogpost, I mentioned it to a friend on Facebook.  I also told her that I  was sitting at the dining room table when I was reading through it for my final draft purposes.  I smiled at the thoughts of Maria and our friendship when my Alexa device in the other room started playing a song.  This particular song is a kind of new favorite and is about muses.  Maria was my muse and, yes, I truly believe that we were having a conversation.  Maria, thank you.  


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day, 2020 (as in the year, and hindsight is 2020).

Kind of pensive this morning, and it reminded me of how thoughtless I was to my own Mom.  Remembering events with my mom. I remembered when I moved out on my own when I was almost 20 years old I chalk it up to the inexperience and stupidity of youth, and to the first onset of adult independence and freedom.  I see it in my own life’s experiences, but please bear with me.  

My wife and I live in an area of steep, curvy mountain roads with long distances and open spaces between services.  Facebook offers us a local road conditions page where concerned citizens post the local knowledge of accidents, fallen trees, road hazards, or dead (or live) wildlife or livestock on the roads.  Yesterday, Saturday, was an uneventful quarantine day in our area until late afternoon.  Someone posted about a motorcycle accident, and the ambulances and police services being called.  A fellow facebooker commented that she was worried about her brother and dad who were late getting back from a ride. 

I worried too.  

What an awful way to hear about an accident that may involve your family.  And the not knowing…!  Later, she posted that all was well and that all was well as they both just walked in the door.  I felt relieved for her and her family.  Strangers, whom I have never met and do not know.  But my heart went out to her in this situation.  

But still, there was a serious accident and it involved strangers, too.  No personal link however far stretched.  But they are neighbors, fellow citizens who are hurting.  My thoughts and prayers went out to them as always.  It is a dangerous world out there.  

And all of this snapped me back to my own quarantine and to all of those suffering.  We see families on the news.  We don’t know them. We see the stories and we feel the emotions.  This links us all to their situations.  The pictures provide a visual reminder of the toll.  

3100 cases of illness in the state where I live.  102, or more deaths.  Each number represents a family hurting or worrying.  One hundred families hurting.  Thirty-one hundred worried families.  

These stories reminded me of my mom today.  Years ago, in my youth, my newfound independence and freedom, I neglected my mother’s feelings.  I forgot about her worries.  

I was living in the mountains 500 miles away.  I had an apartment and a job.  I was doing ok.   I called my brother from a payphone.  He said my mom was “pissed’ that I didn’t have a  phone.  I was independent and naïve.  Why did I need a phone?  I was free.  My brother said, “Mom wants you to get a phone.”  I did. 

There was girl I worked with.  Same situation as myself, young, naïve, and free.  She called home to say “Hi” to her mom.  Her sister said, “Mom died six months ago.” 

This lady in my county worried about her family.  All the current patients have families worried about them. My mother worried about me. She needed to know I was ok.  I got a phone.

I regret not calling my mom.  I didn’t at the time.  But I do now.  Call your Mom, if you can talk to her on a regular basis.  Believe me, there will be a time when you want to… and you can’t. 

Happy Heavenly Mother’s Day Mom. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


On this last day of 2019, I have decided that I will not run for the presidency of the United States Of America.  I just wanted to put that out there, cause I thought at one time that someone asked me if I wanted to run. 

I wanted to announce to my 10 followers first so that you could be the first to know.  Please advise your friends that I will not accept any write-in votes either.  I do not wish to be president.  It is hard. 

And, I don't think people really agree with my politics.  Therefore, do not consider me.  The press interviews and attention would really aggravate my neighbors and family.  And I truly have not decided to whom to throw my support.

Thank you for not considering me. 


Monday, September 2, 2019



It used to pass so slowly. I remember when I was twelve. I couldn't wait to grow up. My wife says I still haven't, even after 50 years. Ha.

When I was a kid, it seemed like it would take forever. At some time in the past 40 years, I heard a song. A Gordon Lightfoot. Went like this, "if you plan to face tomorrow, do it soon." And I always worried if I did... Faced tomorrow.

Well, after 50 years of tomorrows, I have. Faced it. I finished school. Got an education, got a job, got a career (two actually). Got a wife, got kids. 

And now, I find there does not seem to be enough time. Time to do what I want. Time to do what I need to do. Time to dream. Time for reflection. I guess that I realize. No time like the present. I realize. Realization, of all that I have. I am blessed. I guess somewhere along the line, I did grow up.

Wow. How did that happen? Oh, I know...



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tragedy at the bird feeder.

Tragedy at the bird feeder.  Mom and Dad quail arrived yesterday morning with their covey of 8 to 10 chicks.  We have watched them grow for two months now.  We feed them every day.  It is nice to see them.  What a beautiful family.  

Yesterday morning, a neighbor told me. A hawk came out of the trees and snatched a chick. 

This afternoon, the dad came back.  He stood on a rock, scouting the security of the yard.  

Later, as I went to check the mail, I saw the mom and a few chicks cross the street.  Mom was looking back, as if wondering, where is…?  And, I thought to myself, did the chick have a name?  What name did Mom use?

Will she always look back for her chick,

David Normand
Aug. 7, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rembrances - shopping with kids

Mother’s day shopping (ca. 2005)

Today I took my son shopping for a Mother’s Day gift.
 I had offered to purchase a gift the other day when I was at the mall and my son was at school.

He said he couldn’t tell me what he wanted to get.
He said he saw it last week but could not remember it.
I said I would take him to get it tomorrow. 
Tomorrow is today. 

We went to the mall. 

We could not find the gift.

“What was it?” 
I don’t know.  It was purple. 
“Who wrote it?
I don’t know.
“What was it about?”
I don’t know.

Needless to say we bought something else.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cancer is a horrible thing

Last year I wrote about a friend of the family.  She is close to my wife.  A work friend, a text friend, a dinner date friend.  I have met her on several occasions.  I'll admit, she is closer, and better known, to my wife than myself.  But I know her story.  


My wife gets a text over this past weekend that this friend's doctor has spoken.

"Go and do what  you have always wanted to do.  Now is the time."

My wife's friend replied as to what she always wanted to do.  "I want to live."

Cancer is a horrible thing.

DN.  July 28th, 2019.

Friday, February 8, 2019

An Elegy

The river seems a little low today,
The skies’ mood is grey.
Normally I'd be concerned,
But not my heart, not me, not today.
The snow is beginning to fall.
It will drive us all indoors.
Is introspection your gift to me?
Am I on your list of chores?
Say hello to me mum and dad (and my brother, too).
And say hello to yours.
I still miss them all these years
And I don’t understand the "what for’s?"
I know She comes for all of us,
The only thing that's sure.
But in the dash from here to there,
The life well-lived is the cure.

by David Normand