Can School Heal Children in Pain?

Aces study — Adverse Childhood Experiences. I’m excited about this study and more excited about the success showing in schools choosing to implement trauma-sensitivity training. It’s not so much about yet another program, it’s that I know the positive effects those singular moments can have on a child living with a trauma-based life when an adult reaches out. I’m happy to see progress made on such matters in my lifetime. Simple enough, powerful enough in giving child resilience to withstand the trauma, moving away from the trauma moment to learning moments!

ACEs Too High


After learning about the overwhelming effects of childhood trauma, I decided to make a film about a school that’s adopted a “trauma-informed” lens.

Documentaries are no walk in the park. They take a lot of time and money; they have a way of making a mockery out of your narrative plans. They must share the attention of an audience that is increasingly losing more and more of it.

Why bother? It’s a good question. For me, I have one simple bar that all my films must clear: an “oh my God!” moment. If a story does not elicit that reaction from deep within my bones, I don’t do it. I count on that sense of awe, concern, wonder, and alarm to carry me through the long haul of making the film. To do otherwise, well — it just seems stupid.

After three years of hard work and uphill battles, my latest documentary…

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Man’s Best Friend: A Memorial

Our dog, Jake, an aussie, lived 15 years with us. At his end time, yesterday, in his last day, we took him back to his home region, to his Vet in Astoria, Oregon, and we let him go. My husband wrote an amazing tribute to some of the Jake stories we shared along his years. His tribute says it well, says it best.

Jake and Mom take a showerJake and Mom take a shower

On a day at work some 14 years ago my sweetheart and I were contacted by friends who advised us that there was a six month old beautiful dog being held at a local veterinarian’s office. He was picked up on Highway 6 East of Raymond and brought in to the vet. Apparently vagrancy for a dog carries capital punishment and we were given to understand that if no one claimed the dog within 4 days he would be put down.

Sweetheart required that we immediately go over to the vet’s and see the dog.  He was a 50-pound Australian Shepherd who looked like Lassie but with a shorter and blunter nose and ears. Sweetheart fell in love with him but I thought him too big and too rambunctious … and was overruled.

I was allowed to name him and after rejecting the idea…

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Amateur Garden Time – Vegetable and Flower Garden

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(Unable to get the post from 2007 over to this blog – the formatting would not work.  To read the full post, listing all the specimens, plants, plantings – my own garden journalling, click on the date – it will take you to original blog post )


40 Years Smoking and I did it – Quit – cold turkey!

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40 year smoker at a pack a day. My husband, smoker for 12 years cared enough to quit first and lead the way for me. I know better than to become the ‘reformed smoker’ who nags other smokers to quit. All I can do is share what helped me get to the place of being able to mentally embrace the concept of quitting smoking. I’m only 9 days ‘clean and free of nicotine’ so I’m still vulnerable and susceptible to a relapse – but I don’t think that is going to happen. I don’t sense or feel a relapse in the cards for me. And the why of that is another blog entry.

I have read all the ‘ills’ of smoking over the decades, but rarely come across reading that tells me what is good about smoking. Yes, that’s right, I said what’s ‘good’ about smoking. I don’t see myself as a bad person and need to know that beyond addiction what is that cigarettes do for me that makes it so hard to quit.

Might then I recommend some reading that helped me because it actually indicates what is good about smoking; not why one should continue but what the brain/body rewards one gets out of smoking. The reading also helps break down what one can expect in quitting hour by hour! Going in better prepared, I am able to outlast my brain signals of cravings as those cravings go from the discomfort of intensely fierce to nagging reminder to those longer periods of time of what is actual comfort.

So let me recommend;

Nicotine Withdrawal and Recovery Symptoms
The Effects of Nicotine Cessation
by John R Polito
(a former smoker – takes one to know one, eh?)


Back of the house and what about the yard?

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What the back looked like when we bought the house, Nov 2002.

We did take photos of the house when we first bought it, on digital camera, stored in our computer, which crashed and since we didn’t ‘save’ or back up, regrettably lost those pics. There are a hand few left from online activities. This pic is one my mother took of the back side of our house, shortly after we moved into it. I place it here to show the add-on structures that have altered the original salt box structure.

Since I’ve found and begun this blog, I’ve been seeing our house through slightly new eyes. It occurs to me then, that when Mr. Bochau made the first modifications, perhaps he added three bay windows; two on side of the house and one in the back where kitchen area exists. Perhaps not. Perhaps the later owners added the bay window area to the kitchen. We do know that the previous owner, John Joseph, who did much of the improvements and upgrades to this house, added onto the kitchen. He met with us and gave us a run-down of the work he’d done to the house over the 26 yrs his family lived in the house.

The added on kitchen sports an unusual style ‘bay window’ which is literally panes of glass glued together in some kind of super duper window glue. Scary, huh? Well I thought so, knowing to expect Pacific maritime wind and rain storms. But in this area where we live, this same glass glueing project to create bay window effect has been used in one of the historic buildings in nearby town (small town but it actually has a grocery store and some other stores that qualify it as more than a village or a hamlet, I guess). We’ve been in the house now since Nov 2002, weathered 4 winters of rain and windstorms and that kitchen window is virtually im-moveable so it must be some great glue holding the panes together.

Asthetically, it’s not attractive as it is, in fact, a bead of glue running vertically along the panes, which bugs me when I’m looking out the window at the kitchen sink. An interim solution is to cover the two seams with two fabric curtains so that it looks like I’m right there on the cutting edge of designer use of curtains and fabric. I don’t want traditional curtains at the window as it detracts from the idea of the all glass bay window Mr Jospeh installed. I tried a couple of different curtained ideas at that window and decided it was counter productive to why those windows were there in the first place.

Outside, you can see the over-mature shrubs and lilac tree. We didn’t do much with cutting anything back the first year, and were cautious in the second year, and last year we took the plunge and generously pruned back all the mature shrubs and trees.

More pics coming of the back side of the house, primarily in the changing yard. Structurally, we are unlikely to be changing anything about the house except to add front porch and re-work the back enclosed porch. I’m not sure about the original property lines for this house, but the lot now has a small front yard, a larger back yard, no side yards on either side. Since the ‘back yard’ runs parallel to the street, it really seems more like a side yard, than a back yard to me.

Notice the mature lilac tree; fullness of the camelia bush and wild fushia bush. They pretty much dominate this upper section of the yard.

Before with Lilac Trees

After when Lilac Trees are gone

Seriously cutting back the camelia opened up the yard. It also revealed the bay window in the basement level of the house. Gave me area for flower bed and I plan to continue to work that into a showpiece flower bed. I cut back the wild fushia bush somewhat but not knowing the nature of how it grows, and it is the primary home to hummingbirds who lived here before we did, I pruned cautiously to perserve the numerous fuschia blooms for the hummingbirds.

We did light pruning to the Lilac bush (now tree size), which had four mature trunks. Two of the trunks leaned so far to the ground in the 2005 winter storms, we pulled them out, and actually preferred how much that opened up the yard. A new shoot is coming up between the two trunks, and has hardened now to become the newest trunk of the lilac. I’m relieved because if we lose the last two mature trunks, we would have lost the lilac tree.


Our blog added to a house blogs webring

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Yippeee, our Bay Tower House blog has been added to House Blogs Webring .We’re in good company now with other owners of old houses blogging their show and tell experiences and renovations with their great old houses. I’m so glad we found and the 240 other house bloggers blogs that are there sharing their experiences.

Also thank you to all who are visiting our blog, now that it has been added to

We hope to learn from many of you who are putting in the labor of love in your own great old houses. When we traveled through this area on our way to somewhere else, I was so struck by all the ‘cool ol’ houses’ that it prompted us to make a decision to move away from the city, and after being here a while and renting other people’s cool ol’ houses, we bought this one.