Life As A Hedgepig

A Random Collection of Memories of Some of the Trains in My Life
(illustrated with a random collection of photos of recent trains & tracks in my life)

Train engine stopped in Aberdeen, Washington

I've loved trains since I was little. I remember being in a crib at Grandma & Grandpa's house in Eastern Oregon and listening to the trains go by--I must have been 3 or 4 at the oldest. I still love the sound of train whistles. They lived on a farm, and there was a certain part of the fence where I would go climb up and stand there to watch the trains, and wave at the engineers, though they were generally too far away to notice.

When I was nine, my mom, my brother, our cousin & I, all rode the train from Klamath Falls, Oregon, to our cousin's home in San Diego. I remember sitting on my suitcase for what seemed like hours waiting for the train to arrive in K. Falls, and then riding for what seemed like forever to get to San Diego. What a fun trip! I'd love to do it again some day.

There is nothing so poetic as a train track, stretching off into the distance, rife with possibilities...

Around age 13 or so, some of my friends and I used to fool around in the freight yard in Bend. Climbed all over and around and through and between the cars on the sidings there. Goodness knows how we managed to escape being either caught or killed! I never did hop a freight train, although we came close once. There were a bunch of dubious looking men in the open car we spotted, though, and we had the sense to realize that to them we might just look like play toys, and we probably wouldn't enjoy their games.

Train bridge over the Wishkah River

As a mother of sons (Caitlin never really caught the train bug), I've had trains underfoot (sometimes literally) since Jamie was old enough to put together tracks and zoom Thomas along them--around age 2 or 3, I guess. Colin followed in his (train) tracks, and now Alex plays with the whole collection, though maybe not quite as obsessively as his brothers did.

Some of the boys' collection of toy trains

... Link

Caitlin's Artwork

I "commissioned" this to send to a friend, and Caitlin is thrilled at the idea of it going some where far away and really wants to share it with the world, so I am posting it here for the world to marvel at.

by Cata
Coloured Pencil on Typing Paper
8-1/2" X 11"

... Link

Turning Out The Lights

Sometimes I move a little slow in the mornings--mostly a function of staying up too late, I'm sure, but late is when I get my time "away" from the kids--not that they are actually away, but at least if they are asleep I can get things (like schoolwork) done without constant interruptions. But it makes me less than perky in the mornings.

So I take shortcuts in the morning whenever possible. I get up at 7 to get Jamie moving, then crash on the couch and sleep to CNN for an hour until I have to wake up Alex and Colin. If Alex gets up first, I am saved the trouble of getting up again, because I can send him in to wake up Colin, and if I remember to lay clothes out the night before, it's smooth sailing.

A few mornings ago, Alex was up before eight, and being especially bleary, I sent him in to wake up Colin. He came back in a minute and said that Colin wouldn't get up. "Go wake him up again--turn on the light in there and tell him to get up." He trotted off obediently, and in a moment an outraged cry rang out, "What are you doing? Turn off the light! Turn it OFF!"...And just at the moment, every light in the house blinked out, along with everything else powered by electricity.

I came the rest of the way awake as I realized the talking heads on the TV had shut up and gone away, and Caitlin (still not back in school after her fits, starts, and peregrinations of the fall & early winter) came out demanding to know "what in the hell did you just do?!" No-one was more startled than Colin.

I found the number to the PUD, who confirmed that yes, indeed, my power was out. The whole of downtown was out, but they didn't yet know why.

The lights came back on about 35 minutes later, and it wasn't until I talked to my dad, and then saw the day's paper, that we found out what happened.

It seems a goose (breed unspecified, but presumably a Canada Goose, common in these parts) flew into a pair of 69,000 volt power lines downtown, shorting the lines and tripping circuits breakers at two downtown substations. And cooking itself--instantly. Thoroughly.

I don't know how far apart those lines are, but that goose hit them just wrong. According to The Daily World: "The goose's wingspan was apparently large enough that it bridged the two lines and shorted them together." The PUD workers said they'd never seen anything quite like it--and in fact, they didn't really see it this time, as someone had already picked the goose up and taken it away by the time the PUD arrived on the scene. "An unknown person or persons made off with the cooked goose." Planning for dinner, maybe?

Colin, not having yet heard the goose story, sidled up to me later and asked if I thought he really might have had something to do with the power outage that morning. I told him about the goose, but assured him that maybe he screamed loud enough to throw the goose off course. You never know--stranger things have happened!

... Link

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September 2021
Bookworm I spent most of
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