Keeping Busy – The Story of Two Hikes

Actually, there isn’t going to be much of a story, except in pictures.  Being in isolation has been trying in two, maybe three ways.  One, hubby is working from home and I am conscious of not making too much noise, so… I can’t run the vacuum or do anything so loud his customers can’t hear him talk, or he them.  Especially, since sometimes they amount to him putting out fires and handling discrepancies.  Ugh.  It’s hard to negotiate things when he can’t go to the warehouse and see what went wrong and who dunnit, so I hear him in his “office” trying to appease some irate customer.

Because of that, when the weekend comes, it is so nice to get out and away in whatever fashion we are permitted to.  At first, it was short drives where we couldn’t get out of the car, but they were scenic.  Now, we can hit the trails and we did.

I intended to write last weeks excursion, but events (interviewing roofers etc.) got in the way and I just didn’t get around to it.

So, today, you get two for one. Two in one?  You get it.

The first was scenic and amazing. It was in the Calaveras Hills Preserves not 10 minutes away from home. There were so many fabulous pictures to take of sites scene… uh seen.

We wore our masks (well I did and he did when we came upon other folks) and at the beginning of this one, there were a few too many people so at one juncture, when the trail split, we took the road less traveled and we were rewarded for doing so.

What is interesting is that all these hikes and preserves are tucked in gully’s of residential neighborhoods. clp6 - Copyclp5 - Copyclp14

I don’t know about you, but I love old, giant gnarly trees and beautiful spring flowers in bloom. On this hike, notice our famous California Poppy and the purple flower of a stinging  nettle.

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Water lily’s in the waterway, a graffitti’d dam, some green spiny gourd or fruit of some sort on a tree and my favorite, some sweet unknown green flower in a stump.

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This hike was marshy and we could hear, but not see the quail in the brush.

There was a rotted rope swing, that God forbid anyone would even contemplate using since the water couldn’t have been more than two feet deep below it, and the trail of what was probably a rattlesnake that had recently crossed before us.

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Another favorite is this picture of what diversity of foliage that is so California, because in this photo, there is a giant cactus(native), palm trees, a tall eucalyptus in back(not native),  An old brush oak and trees, I can’t name.

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Hike #2 was on the Manchester Preserve somewhere between Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe, about 30 minutes south from home not far off the 5 freeway.  It was a bit deserty, but no less beautiful.  The flowers were gorgeous and with the exception of those cactus flowers, these were tiny, despite their size in the photos.

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Again, we are in a valley between residential neighborhoods.

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I loved the contrast in this picture of the new cacti among the skeletal remains of the old.

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And someone leaving us a reminder to…

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Steps to one of the neighborhoods above and a bee seeking nectar from a flower.

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and of course, a smaller gnarly branch.

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I hope you enjoyed the walk with us and if you’re ever in southern California, look us up, we would gladly take you with us into the unknown and less know canyons of SoCal .

Liebster Award, Thanks to Jim at Fit Recovery

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Telluride, Colorado

Typically, I don’t do the blog awards much anymore because I take them seriously, and done correctly they take a lot of time.  If you know me, I tend to write about everything under the sun, which usually comes from the inspirations I get reading blogs I follow.  Sometimes, I draw from the trials and tribulations of my own personal life in addition to the joys. So basically, I’m all over the board.

That said, I unquestionably appreciate being recognized as consequential to the blogosphere by Jim at bgddyjim  who was nominated by Anna at Storm in a Wine Glass.  So these are his questions for me:

  1.  What makes you cry for joy?  This is actually easy.  I love hearing and learning of my friends successes and achievements.  I love it when one of my blogging friends publishes a book or achieves a milestone. I love it when my kids make headway in their own lives or when someone I met years ago actually remembers me after the one time we ever did anything, ie  The Hollywood Dance-athon for Breast Cancer where we danced nonstop for 12 hours.  Yes, I may have been in my late 60’s and these young men in their early 30’s but I kept up and they remember.  I only mention it, because I got an Instagram note from one of them five years later, wondering how I was holding up during lockdown and it made me feel pretty special.
  2. 2. Favorite book and why?  The Bible.  It is never outdated and there’s advice for anyone for anything in it, if you know where to look.  I’m not terribly religious or attend a church as regularly as I used to, but I still hold it in high regard for the valuable advice it has to offer.
  3. Describe your perfect moment of the day.  This one is actually tough, because just waking up is the best moment. I especially cherish sunny days though, because I must admit I’m a sunshine girl and function best when the sun is out.
  4. Your best quality?  I think my best quality is my eagerness and willingness to help others when in need.  I loved working and volunteering for Red Cross for many years.
  5. Is there anything you struggle with that you’re continuously working on overcoming?  In conjunction with #4,  knowing my limitations and restraining myself from thinking I’m the solution to everything. I have to remind myself I’m almost 74 and I can’t do it all. lol
  6. The best piece of advice you ever received?  Wow!  This is tough.  I think the best advice I got was from a friend of mine years ago.  She noticed that I was quite the chameleon always trying to change to everyone’s expectations, always trying to please others.  She told me I could be liked for just being myself and it was okay if I didn’t please everyone. It was hard because my mom, bless her heart, had drummed it in my head that I wasn’t good enough and that I had to fit into this mold of “goodness”, which I could never live up to. In her own ignorant way she wanted me to be goal oriented, but it came out wrong.  I realized that years later.  She did mean well though and I had to forgive her for it..
  7. Describe what ‘hope’ means to you.  Hope and faith are akin to one another and it is the desired expectation of something I look forward to today and always.  I hope  I can be patient and tolerant with my fellow beings and that love and kindness will abound in their spirits and when it doesn’t I hope I can forgive.
  8. What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? For the record – I mean true bravery! Doing a sky dive isn’t brave if it doesn’t scare you. Bravery is doing something that scares the shit out of you!  I’m a daredevil, always have been, so my skydiving feat was daring but not brave. When I first read this, I kept getting heroic and brave mixed up.  Are they one and the same?  I don’t know.  I think my first rock climb on a rope was the bravest thing I’ve ever done, because it literally did scare me nearly to death.  Heights scare me to death and dangling from a rope, relying on someone else to keep me safe was scary.  I remember when I finally got to the top, my mouth was dry like it was full of cotton and I could hardly get the words, “I did it!” out.  Yeah, taking that first step was the bravest thing I ever did.
  9. What did Little You want to be when he/she grew up?  An actor/dancer/singer.
  10. Looking at a photo of Little You, what advice would you give him/her? You’re going to be okay. You will be loved the right way. Be decisive.  Stay focused on school and learning. Look at yourself with kinder eyes and don’t let anyone keep you from your dreams.
  11. ….and what advice would Little You give the you of here and now?  Little me would look at big me now and say, “Don’t hide, your dreams are still important and don’t worry so much about your kids, they are going to be alright.  You did a good job, they’ll figure things out and trust in that.

I’m not going to nominate other bloggers, per se, though I’ll list a few I respect and if they choose to answer the same questions above, well they’ve been awarded the Liebster Award, too.  I know these tend to go around in spurts, so I won’t be offended if they don’t reply.

https://booomcha.com/

https://notewords.wordpress.com/

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

https://cocinaitaly.wordpress.com/

https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/

https://swo8.wordpress.com/

https://amehrling.com/

https://piermanparis.com/

 

Should I Stay or Should I go?

Warning:  I’m venting…

If not for me but for anyone else who’s given this much thought I’ve put mine down and in doing so may rattle a few cages here, but this experience got my thought “muscles” working overtime.

I was asked the following question on Quora yesterday and what follows in blue was my response.

Question:

“I’m a Muslim man who came to America for a better life. I like the food and women in bikinis. However, I don’t like Christians because of their beliefs about Jesus. How can I avoid Christians in America?”

Response:

“This is interesting. You like what America has to offer, but you don’t like Christians. Put the shoe on the other foot for a moment. What if I went to the country you came from and said the same thing? I like this… but I don’t like Muslims. This actually happened to a friend of mine. She resolved it by returning home to America.

It was not the Muslim religion itself she did not like but it’s tradition of women being subservient and having to walk behind her husband rather than alongside him. And, there was more, all having to do with their beliefs and customs.

Even though America was primarily Christian when it was founded, it has evolved to embrace people of all faiths. If I went to your country, I would want to get to know the people better regardless of whether or not I agreed with their worship or them calling their deity by a different name than the one I believe in.

To Christians, God, Jehovah, Yaweh, is the equivalent of the Muslim Allah, Jesus as to Muhammad. I have not read the Quran though I do possess one. My father, however did read and study it. He told me, “Something most people do not know is, if you were to read both the Christian Bible and the Quran, you would find many equivalents.” Their prophecies, though not exactly the same, bare many similarities to those in the Christian Bible. As I understood what he told me is, it tells the same story using different names. Any Christian reading this might find his simple assessment disagreeable.

Aside from that, take a look at the figures. The thing is, 74% of America is made up of those who believe in Jesus, and that does not include those of the Jewish faith, which is the root of Christianity. That’s a lot of people to stay away from. 20% believe in no god. The remaining 4% are Islamic or of non Christian faiths.

The best way to overcome prejudice is to get to know it’s people and beliefs. Look beyond the superficial and find a common ground. If that doesn’t work, then I would politely suggest you do as my friend did and go home.
I hope this answers your question.”

I really tried to be polite because whether the question was contrived to get a rise out of me or not, I treated it with sincerity.  I also didn’t include the caveat that just because someone says they’re Christian, that they really are.  Sigh

Today is Cinco de Mayo and because we have a huge Hispanic population in California, it wasn’t unusual to see trucks with huge Mexican flags waving behind them which made me wonder.  Prior to the USA annexing California as it’s own, California and Texas were once part of Mexico.  The thing is, we aren’t anymore, so why do we share in that celebration, besides it being an excuse to party?  I mean, even in Colorado and Alabama, where I’ve lived, there was some form of observance.  No day off of course, but there would be Cinco themed partying in the streets and restaurants.

If you were a wee bit offended by the question above, it’s understandable.  It’s not that unusual for people who flock to our country’s doors for all the bennie’s they can get to have allegiance to their own country of origin and none to ours. That’s a lot of takers.  However, most folks don’t want to live in a country where they can’t thrive or better themselves. In the case of this man who, himself said, he wanted “a better life”, implying he can’t get it in his country. To them we are a prostitute, to use and throw away, ie devalued.

Personally,  we are nothing more than used toilet paper to a good many of the folks that come over.  They deride us and demand more.  Yes, they may work, but their money is going “home”, with a meager amount used to sustain themselves with.  They use us, giving back nothing, then throw us away when we have nothing more to give.  The audacity of that man.  But, I remained kind and even if I had added all that came to me after I was done with my reply, I would have done so with graciousness.  It breaks my heart that this occurs.  Other countries wouldn’t tolerate it if we did that to them, but then we wouldn’t even get through the front or any door if we didn’t have something to offer them. It is also why our country is torn between should they stay or should they go.

I know there are those born and raised here that do the same thing, disrespect, gripe, complain and ask for more and that breaks my heart as well.  As citizens they can legitimately exert their first amendment right to decry what they see as unjust. After all, if they’re paying taxes and putting back into the system then … it doesn’t make it right, but they are free to do so.

For some reason this reminded me of the girl who lived across the street from us, when I was a kid, who called her mother a whore because she had split from her dad and was dating someone else.  At some time in the future, I, at 14 years of age, referred to her mother as “that whore” and holy hell was rained all over me for that.  That was when I learned that it’s human nature to mouth off about your kin when you’re upset, but by golly, no one else better do so.

I truly don’t mind helping folks but for pete’s sake, I would like to see a bit more gratitude and loyalty from those folks that take advantage of our bounty.

If America is that awful, then yeah, you know where the door is.

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Then, again, we must ask “What would Jesus do?”

There are two answers from the Bible that could defend two ways of thinking.

One, illustrates how he felt about the money changers as he ran them out of the temple for defiling (disrespecting) a holy place … Matt. 21:12, Mark 11:11

Then, the one, where he tells us to turn the other cheek… (forgiveness and generosity) Matt. 5:38-39, 5:41

Then again, there’s the warning about leaven (attitudes that corrupt)  Mark 8:15, Galatians 5:9

I think because we, as Christians tend to be compassionate and giving, we find ourselves perplexed or torn as to what course is the right one to take, not only for us but in dealing with others.

If the man who asked the above question fears or dislikes Christians, could it be he is actually afraid he may begin to like us or become one of us?  We can be a like-able bunch.

Hmmmm

 

 

Just Sit Right Back and…

you’ll hear a Tale… a tale of a fateful trip

Yep!  I’m beginning to feel like I’m on a 2020 fateful trip, stranded on an island, feeling pretty damn helpless.

I got a call this morning… my sweet step brother Michael will be having surgery for appendicitis. It hasn’t burst… yet.  That’s bad enough but he has pneumonia as well.  No Covid-19, thank goodness!  Later tonight, they still hadn’t gotten to him. They blame it on Covid-19.  I am certain he will be fine, but good grief!  He said the pain meds they gave him were working and he has a good attitude.  I told him he was a survivor.

I don’t want to bellyache, but I’m venting because what else can you do when you can’t expend all this angst any other way?

Could things get any worse?  In case you haven’t followed my family saga, let me fill you in.

In the last two weeks, I had to put my little kitty down, I know it’s not a human relative, but it was still emotional.  She’d been with us 18 years.  Then, I learn sometime later that my cousin died the same day! Over the years we’d lost touch and I knew she’d been in the hospital with pneumonia, then had several strokes to follow.  She’s the same age as my sister who has been in ICU for over a month and she is family, so all of that was just one more thing.  If I don’t sound unusually sad, it’s because she had Parkinson’s and has been suffering of late, so it was a relief for the family to know she is in a better place.

My sister, btw is showing marginal improvement, not great yet, but we are trying to be optimistic.

Still…

What makes all of this so hard is, I can’t go running to be with either sibling, given our isolation status, besides hospitals are no longer allowing visitors anyway.

Then…

As you know, we sprung a leak, but the good news is, it wasn’t as bad as we’d thought it could be.  Apparently the winds managed to channel water through a vulnerable section which is being sealed, as we speak. The overall roof is fine.  The roofer said he wouldn’t charge us until we knew for sure the repair worked and… we have more storms coming, so we’ll be testing it out soon.  He lives down the street.

And then…

Have you ever felt like Big Brother is watching us?

This was so weird so tell me if any of you have experienced this phenomenon…

After the roofer left, I told hubby what he’d said, about the roof and that we could possibly need new gutters after reinforcing the last layer of shingles, which were not done properly and the wood fascia was rotting at the roof line.  Well, this morning my junk box (thank goodness it went straight to junk, but I still clean it out each day, so I noticed) was inundated with solicitations for gutter replacement.  NO WHERE HAD I WRITTEN THIS DOWN.  It was only a conversation we’d had in the proximity of our computers… and hubby’s phone!!!!

This has happened to hubby more than me and we were in his office, not mine.  I have an iPhone, he has a Samsung.  Whether that has anything to do with it, I don’t know. I’m wondering if Apple is insuring it’s users more privacy.

I’m not inclined to be a conspiracy theorist, but … I am beginning to wonder.

On the good side…

I went to Costco and I’m proud to say Californians are well masked and adhering to the proximity requirements.  At least they were at Costco. I was double layered, in fact.  I knew when I got home I would take my outer layer off in the garage and spritz myself.  Hey!  Can’t be too careful.

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I covered my hair and wore glasses so my eyes would be somewhat protected.  If I had swimming goggles, I might have worn those.  Heck who would have recognized me anyway? Hmmm now that’s an idea…

An interesting note.  While I was in line, waiting to check out, there was a grumpy guy in the lane next to mine barking orders to his wife.  In the lane in front of me, the woman saw my cooking oil and realized she’d forgotten to get some, so I told her to run. The checker was then ready for her and she’d not returned yet.  He looked up and around and she came running, shouting “I’m here!”  Then she says how grateful she was that I was behind her.  I said, “Well, you know in this time, it pays to be kind to one another”

Grumpy heard the exchange, “You can’t mean everyone, some people don’t deserve to be kind to”   I looked at him and sweetly replied  “I said, “yes, every one, you don’t know how that might change their day”.  His wife chimed in and said, “She’s right, you never know”.  Secretly, I hoped I had changed his.

the car…

Earlier in the week, I took my car on a drive, I was told it needed to be driven now and again and I happened by Home Depot.  They had roped off a section to filter customers into the store a little at a time.  Home Depot was doing their part, but… the people in the line were not proximity conscious and other than the employees, only two or maybe three were wearing masks.  I did not stop.  Only observed.

Time on my hands…

What am I doing with my time other than entertaining conspiracy theories and whatever else, I can come up with?

Weeell, hubby’s home a lot which means . . .

I get to have lunch with him and . . .

And… I’m actually trying to be useful.  My neighbor, God bless her, is making masks.  I’m not as useful, but I did help a little (very little) with making straps for them.

Strawberries . . .

Now I did buy strawberries from a neighbor, who has a large family.  Her hubby is a gardener, so I’m guessing work may be limited.  She and several others in the household do housekeeping, so I’m sure they’re not working right now. She doesn’t normally come door to door, so I’m guessing things might be tight.  I practically threw money at her, but I just couldn’t turn her away.  We didn’t talk except through the closed window. Her son was wearing gloves and mask, she wasn’t.  He usually goes along to interpret.  I told her to set the produce down and after awhile, I went out and hosed everything down just to be safe.  I felt badly that it had to be that way.  I don’t think she was offended, after all I didn’t just turn her away.

Well, that’s the story of our fateful trip for now and it’s not over yet.  Our mayor is talking about this lock down not being over until we’ve had 28 days of no new cases.

So in the end, like Gilligan and the Castaways, you roll with it, add levity, look for the positives and hope for a rescue.

Soon.

 

 

 

 

We Done Sprung A Leak

As you know, I’ve been complaining, or maybe I’ve not complained enough about the weather we’ve been having in California.  Rain, is something we don’t get a lot of and when it does rain, it is generally manageable… at least in our neck of the woods.

Well, today it not only kept a steady pace, but the wind was unbelievable.  My friend Jim was talking about the wind possibly getting in the way of a good bike ride.  I better warn you Jim, it’s headed your way, so watch out, it’s aggressive.  If you’re lucky it’ll settle down and you will get that ride in anyway.

It isn’t bad enough that we can’t go anywhere because of the Covid-19, but we can’t even go outdoors in our back yard!  The gardeners haven’t been able to finish their work and what we have plenty of is mud.  His goal was to eventually put in a French drain, so the water doesn’t continue to run toward the house, but we didn’t get that far.  So, now it just puddles.

Then this evening, Russ got ready to practice on his guitar a bit before going to bed and there was water by his amp, which sits right next to my side of the bed.  I looked up and “shore” enough we have a leak, all along the seam where the addition was put in and the roof-line reconfigured.  So we get some totes and lay them in the line of fire and hope that’ll catch most of it.leak1

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We were going to stay in the room but the pit pat was too much. So we moved over to the spare room.  It’s kinda nice having a four bedroom when there’s just two of you.  When he or I get sick we self quarantine and it’s all good. Sometimes.

If that isn’t bad enough, he went to use the bathroom and there was water puddled on the floor that I think came through the vent. Out comes another tote. leak

I had been in there moments before to look. I look again but I still don’t see any roof damage or water buckling like what is evident on the other side of the shared wall. That made me wonder if perhaps the water was due to the velocity of the winds blowing it into our turbines and perhaps it flooded the entire roof?  Or perhaps it is a combination of both.

It also means strangers will be entering our home during lock down.

In California, not many homes need air conditioning because with the right kind of venting we blow the hot air out or just open a door or window in front and back and we get a nice breeze.

So, it’s 11PM and there’s no way of getting anyone to look at it right now, but in the morning, I guess we’ll have to pull out the warranties and insurance contracts and call a roofer.  Ugh!

That’s bad enough during good times, but now?!!

So, it’s late, but I text my neighbor and ask if she knows any good roofers, thinking she’ll answer in the morning, but she’s up and texts right back that “Fred” down the street is a roofer, so at least we have someone to call after we call insurance.

What’s been interesting during this whole thing is Russ remains calm.  In fact, he thought we needed to wait until it stopped raining.  I say no, we call and they can put something over until they can get to it, but in the meantime we won’t be flooded.  That’s the difference between a guy who didn’t grow up around construction and a woman who did and was a realtor to boot.  We kind of have to know those things.

He doesn’t seem perturbed in the slightest and I will probably not get a wink of sleep!

F**k 2020!

 

We’re dealing with COVID-19, but what’s a virus in the first place?

What and why it does what it does. You can help.

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Everybody knows by now that the United States and the world are in the grip of one of the dangerous coronaviruses called COVID-19, but what’s a virus and how can it make us feel ill? Why do our bodies react the way they do? Are viruses alive?

“Viruses aren’t considered alive – in class I call them pseudo-alive,” says Dr. Eric Mendenhall, an associate professor of biological sciences at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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A virus has got to have a living cell before things can rock and roll.

“They require a host to even begin to function. However, since they use DNA or RNA to pass information to the next round of viruses the cell makes for them, they are subject to some of the same principles of evolution and selection that alive organisms are subject to,” Dr. Mendenhall says.

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I Found Some Face Masks!

It all happened last fall.  As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes drive, or now past tense, drove for Lyft and Uber.  It wasn’t a full time job, but I loved it.  I’ve met some amazing and wonderful people doing it. I suppose if it didn’t invade their privacy, I could write a book about that.  The downside of driving is that I’m always in close quarters with my passengers. Too risky under the present Covid-19 circumstances.

That’s partly why I’m not currently engaged in taking people around right now. The other reason is, hubby won’t let me… take that risk. I’m loved.

Around November of last year, my husband got a real bad case of the flu.  Like responsible adults, we had both gotten our flu shots for the year, me earlier than him.  I got mine in September before I went to see my sister in Florida, knowing she might be having her brain surgery in the near future.  I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be a risk to her and perhaps add a layer of protection for our visit.

As it turns out, we had a great visit and neither she nor I got sick.  However, November rolls around and hubby got it.  The flu.  The following week, I got it.  I wasn’t nearly as sick as he, but it was still very, very bad.  So, before I would go driving again, I ordered face masks… from China.  I didn’t want to feel that bad again and I was taking no chances. I got some yellow ones with a nautical theme and some black ones.

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I got more than I thought I’d ever need, so I put them away.  Then, after all that, I hesitated to use them, partly for vanity reasons and I didn’t want to offend my passengers or have them think I was sick or that I thought they were.  Plus, it is the U.S. and it’s not our norm.  Then when I learn Covid-19 originated in China, the issue then became because they were from China.  As it turns out, the virus doesn’t live that long on paper or plastic products, so they’re safe now 4-5 months later.

I, We finally got to use them our first day out when we took Chloe to the vet last week and then again when we returned and had to put her down. (still not over that) Since we were already out, we took that time to do a little shopping, so we wore them to the store as well. We hadn’t been able to find meat anywhere, but I noticed this was a new store and hoped it might still have meat.

Me, in a mask at the restroom in Sprouts grocery store.  I hated to go there, but couldn’t wait.  That’s what happens when you age.  I washed everything I needed first and touched nothing afterward.  I carry antibac with me. That’s an Uber/Lyft thing as well.

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THE NEED FOR MASKS

Last night, while texting with my daughter, who is an RN at SLC University Hospital, she mentions how badly she felt that she had to go into pediatrics without a mask.  THEY DON’T HAVE MASKS!!!  I told her I had these and she was interested.  She’s the one who informed me they would be safe.

So, I went on a hunt for the others.  I couldn’t remember where I’d put them since I hadn’t really needed them.  I had a couple out that were stashed in my car, enough for hubby and I and for when we went out to the vets.

Well, I found them in the linen closet!

There isn’t a lot, but one was the washable kind, the others not.  I told her they would be in the mail today for her to share.  She was so excited.  My grand daughter chimed in on our group text… “THANK YOU GRANDMA!”

I wonder if the masks I use when I’m painting are any good?  I just may have a box of those somewhere… Hmmm, does anybody know?

After writing that last line, I took a break.  The little I was sending just felt so meager… So I went on the hunt again.  I went through my paint junk to see if I could corral the ones I used for my refinishing projects and guess what?  I found out I had been using medical masks!!!  And, what’s more the box was nearly full!

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I put them in a baggie, without handling them, just in case and so they would ship easier.  I just hope they’ll be good enough.

My neighbor, along with countless other people are making washable masks for our local hospitals but for a moment I wondered if maybe I shouldn’t have dropped them off locally instead.  She just told me I could have some to send to my daughter.  Aren’t people grand?!

The thing is, she’s my daughter and she lives with my son, my great granddaughter, great grandson and granddaughter, so her risks are higher for bringing it home to them, so I think I’m doing the right thing.

As for the rest of us?  We can best do our part to help all of our medical professionals, who are in the line of fire, by staying in lock down.  We can still be in our backyard or balcony, if we have them.  I know it’s harder for folks who don’t have that, but please do your best. Skype, Facetime or Zoom with family and friends. Stay connected.  WE all love you!!

On a side note.  A call was made by California governor Newsom, on the news last night, for help from any retired healthcare professionals or those about to graduate from medical school to come forward to help.  They will be paid and receive healthcare benefits, of course.  The response so far has been thousands responding in just a few hours!  They will be vetted according to specialties and needs of course, but that’s still amazing.

 

 

R.I.P. Chloe Weber

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Today, (last night) we had to put our sweet kitty, Chloe down.  We knew she was suffering, but not how much.  We  changed vets because the last one just kept changing her diet and she kept throwing up or refusing the food altogether.  We got to where we wanted her to eat something and kept hoping that the next thing we’d try would work and make her better, but nothing did. We learn she had extreme kidney failure. So, we let her go.

We bawled like little kids, but stayed with her til her heart was no longer beating.  She died peacefully with me stroking her head.  Hubby kneeled beside her and kissed her head goodbye.

All this taking place on the patio at the vets on a blanket on the floor.  Because of Covid-19, the only ones allowed in the vets office were pets.  We had to be out on the patio or in our cars.

It is what it is.

We knew she was starting to fail, but when I dug up these pictures, I could see it showed,  from the lackluster in her eyes, and the lackluster of her coat.  These photos are fairly recent, so we thought maybe not that long. Unfortunately, the vet reminded us that cat and human time is different, so perhaps in cat years, it was longer than we imagined.

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Of late the non lap cat, became a lap cat, always climbing up to be near us and in this case, hubby’s tummy or the crook of his arm.

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Given that I’d been preoccupied with my sister’s failing health, Chloe pretty much took a backseat.  I wished I’d been more aware.  The vet, trying to be consoling, did say,  “it’s hard to know sometimes”.

When I told the family, they sent their regrets.  She’d been with our family since she was a kitten.  She would have been 18 this fall. The kids would share a memory about her.  One of them said, they “will always remember her chasing that golden retriever down the street”, and she did, her feet hardly touching the ground, looking almost airborne as she ran after that big dog.  My niece loved her crooked ear, the result of an encounter with a huge, yellow tabby she was trying to rid our backyard of.  Unfortunately, she was a 3/4 cat and he twice her size. He won. When the cone was removed, her ear had healed crookedly.

When we moved from Alabama to here, she handled the drive marvelously sitting on the dash of my car most of the way.  When we flew her to Tennessee, she didn’t fair as well.  From Grand Junction to Denver, she howled unmercifully and defecated, stinking up the whole cabin.  Fortunately, it was a short flight and the layover in Denver was long enough that I could bathe her in the sink and clean her up.  The remainder of the flight went fine.

Hubby wrote a fitting eulogy on Facebook with the above photo announcing her demise to our friends.

“Chloe and I had a great run of 18 years that ended today. She was a most excellent blend of feisty, cuddly, ornery, loving. grumpy, mean, and playful. In other words, a typical cat. Gonna miss the old girl!” 

What he doesn’t say is, they had a routine.  A special bond. She would wait for him in the bedroom each evening before going to bed and he would throw his dirty t-shirt on her and they would wrestle.  She’d growl and he’d toss her about for a couple of minutes and then she’d purr.  If he delayed going to bed, she’d come and get him.  Towards the end, play was less rough and finally just the t-shirt on her and his hands on either side, a few sweet nothings and a kiss. She never stopped looking for it though.

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Even though these two didn’t get along, cold weather brought them somewhat together. We lost him last July. Picture taken the year before.  Now that I see these pictures, I notice now how the serious decline was recent and not as far back as I’d imagined.

Pictures and stories from previous posts.  Chloe the Mighty Hunter and Chloe and the Rutabaga & more.

From her injured leg, to her hiding place and her gifts. She will live forever in our hearts.

Bye Chloe.  May there be a special place for you, a heaven or wherever cats go. You were our special kitty.  I’m so glad you were in our life. You will be missed.

Grandpa and Grandma

Attalla, Alabama.

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When you come from a small town, ya gotta watch out, especially when it comes to finding a beau. You never know what you might get. 

Case in point.

I was born in Alabama, but grew up in California. I first moved back to Alabama as an adult in 2005.  Oh, I’d visited on occasion and dad would introduce me to folks here and there but mostly I didn’t remember most of them. When I visited he’d take me and my girls around and introduce me to folks and say “that’s your cousin” and I’d never see them again. I didn’t know most of them, but one time I was sitting in a store waiting on my dad and some lady comes up to me and says “You’re a Brothers, aren’t you?”, I looked around and dad was nowhere in sight, so that wasn’t her clue. I said, “Yes”. She introduced herself as another cousin, who’s name I recognized but had never met. The thing is everyone counts as a “kissin’ cousin” in the south because somewhere down the line, we ARE related. True fact.

When Grandma married grandpa it was frowned upon by her family who were, not so much upper class, as they were from a better batch and considered “refined”. Grandma is the one with hat. My sister Diana reminds me a lot of her sister, Nell.

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She had just the one sister. Nell.  To this day, the Freeman’s will not acknowledge the Brothers side of the family.  Aunt Nell would go on to live considerably longer.

Grandpa, on the other hand was born on the wrong side of the tracks, rough around the edges and a bit crass. He came from a family of like 12 kids, but I believe only 8 survived to adulthood. gp3

He was from the south side of the social spectrum, and like daddy, he could be meaner’n a snake and ya never knew when they’d strike. He was also a womanizing cad.

I’d sure like to know who the woman was next to him. Hmm

Daddy told my sister and I about the time grandma learned about one of his liaisons. It just so happens it was with a lady down the road. Far be it for grandma to take that from anybody (except grandpa). So, she grabbed one of the boy’s baseball bat and hightailed herself down the road and threatened that gal within an inch of her life! I’m sure grandpa just laughed. Heck! We told Daddy, she shoulda taken that bat to grandpa!

Grandma was a stay at home mom. She tended the chickens, milked the cow, churned their own butter and was pretty much in charge of the food. When I was a kid, I remember her cultivating about 1/2 acre of produce that would later be “put up” or canned.    Grandpa would till the soil and she did the rest. Daddy said, they were poor,  but the depression never affected them because of it.

When I was little, she’d send us kids’ out to pick okra, green beans, tomato and corn.  She always made us wear these huge bonnets to keep us from getting too tan.  Ladies weren’t supposed to get a lot of color in those days. There was nothing like grandma’s cooking either. My could she make the best biscuits, slathered in home churned butter and honey or sorghum and her fried okra and sweet corn with a side of fresh, sliced tomatoes with a dollop of mayo were to die for. Chicken was reserved for Sunday dinners. 

When my sister and I moved back there to care for mom and dad, we learned that the house on the right was one grandma bought with her own money.  Grandpa hadn’t bought it, but she had, if you can believe that.  That would have been in the early 50’s. I remember Diana saying “Go grandma!”  Grandma was also one of the first  young women who made the paper when they got a drivers license!  Pretty amazing lady, I’d say.

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Both of them were born in the late 1800’s. 1892 & 95, I believe.  They had four sons, the first one died at the age of two or three.  Prior to them getting married, grandpa, in his twenties served in the Army in France during WWI.  One time while in the attic, we kids found a box of letters from his “fan” club of girls he’d met there. Who knows, we may have “cousins” in France as well.

Grandpa’s native American heritage really shows in the above picture.

I remember once, daddy told me that when grandpa was “Sheriff”, daddy got in trouble with him, so grandpa put him in jail. Jail was very similar to the one Andy Taylor ran, only probably a bit smaller. It was a small town and that jail still exists, though it sits empty now. I mentioned this to daddy before he passed and he tells me he doesn’t remember ever telling us that story.  Did Grandpa take us by there one day and tell us that maybe? Daddy is the kid that looks like he’s full of the dickens, so it’s wouldn’t have been impossible he was in trouble all the time.  I told him, I could imagine him giving his momma a considerable amount of grief.  He didn’t deny it. So, even though the story’s veracity came into question, we still tell it.  The little cutie in the middle there would grow up to be like grandpa, liking the ladies.

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From what I’d heard, Grandpa was known to have jumped around from job to job and was constantly chasing the pie in the sky dreams while doing his womanizing.  One day, when daddy was doing a T.V. repair house call, some guy tells daddy, he was his illegitimate brother.  Daddy did not know him, but at the same time he was not terribly surprised. 

One of grandpa’s later job’s was running oil with my uncle to homes in big tanker trucks.gpoil

Before that he ran coal.  He even had a jack of all trade business card that though inappropriate and offensive to us today, was a sign of the time then.

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Ironically, grandpa, from what daddy said, was fair minded to all his workers black or white and as far as we kids ever saw, this was true.  Grandpa was a hard worker and expected the same of anyone who worked under him, including his kids.

I believe he ran the Woodyard the longest and there’s a good chance the coal business was run simultaneously.  I say this because the sawmill is where daddy, lost part of his foot at the age of 16, it’s also the backdrop of the picture with the three towheads and he was still running it when I was born, some 10 years later. 

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Grandma dodging the camera.

Because the train ran right up to the Woodyard and because that was where I was born and lived the first couple of years of my life, I would always find comfort in the sound of trains going by.

Even though grandpa tended to play around, he wasn’t totally without honor.  When grandma got sick with cancer, the cost of her care was more than he could handle.  He talked to the then sheriff and asked his permission to run a still for the time being and requested said sheriff to look the other way while he raised what he could for her expenses.  The sheriff agreed.  So, grandpa set up a still, tucked away in the woods on the farm a few miles away.  He did this with a partner friend.  Said Sheriff would later come around and ask him if he’d raised what he needed.  Grandpa replied honestly that he had, so the sheriff told him to tear it down then.  Grandpa agreed, but his partner didn’t want to.  Grandpa walked away from it, but his partner would later get arrested.  That’s how things were in those days.

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After grandma died, he married her friend Minnie and when Minnie died, he married, Ada.  Minnie was sweet and everyone liked her.  Ada on the other hand would be the death of grandpa.

I didn’t know grandpa when he was young, so what I remember of him was kind and funny.  I remember him popping his false teeth for us.  He told me once to keep my arm back in the truck, because a passing car could pull it right off.  He proceeded to tell me of how he was driving by and having some fellas arm on the hood of his truck, so I pulled my arm in immediately.  I don’t think I believed him, but I wasn’t gonna take any chances.  I remember he liked to whittle.  He was skinny and looked like a witch in his later years. 

My two girls did get to have some good times with their great grandpa and that’s pretty cool, though they never knew grandma.  She died when I was 13.  

We kids are what remain.

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My Aunt Mildred, Uncle Kenneth, mom and grandma (she probably hated this pic) in back.

My siblings Diana, me, David and Sandra.

 

Miss Brennenstuhl- 6th Grade – A Peek Into my Life.

Miss Brennenstuhl.  My forever favorite teacher.  How I even remember how to spell her name is a miracle in of itself.  Up until junior high, my teachers would be female.

Miss Brennenstuhl was my 6th grade teacher.  She had blonde hair and wore glasses.  She was quite angular and thin with long legs.  She wore shirt waist dresses with flowing skirts. Her full lips covered a slight overbite and she kept them painted with bright red lipstick and  I remember she smiled easily. Oh, and she smelled nice.  Was she pretty?  I don’t know, but to me she was old, but she had to have been at least 40 and I think I was more fixated on the noticeable amount of makeup and the stylish clothes she wore. To put it simply she was put together quite admirably. Why that impressed me, I have no clue. I was a tomboy.  When she wore her hair down, it was slightly longer and fuller on the bottom than Marilyn’s here but same style.  Her makeup almost exactly the same. When her hair was up, she was classy.

She was what one would have called, in those days, a spinster. An unmarried “older” woman over 30, yet looking not unlike the above pictures. She wore yellow often.

At times, she could be quite stern and because I was the child that was generally on any teachers bad side, I wasn’t on hers.  For some reason, she took to me.  Perhaps I was her challenge for the year.  The one she made it her goal to impact positively and she did.

School had not been easy for me.  In kindergarten, I remember having a teacher,  who did not accept that when I asked to go potty, I meant it.  I think she thought I was fooling around in the john.  Perhaps there were some kids who might have, but I really had to go. Often.

One day, just as we were getting ready to sit on the floor to have our lunch,  I asked to be excused,  she said, “No”.  A few minutes later, she was having to buy lunches for the kids who were unfortunate enough to be sitting near me.  From then on, she never said “No”.   But she also penalized me for it by holding me back and making me go to pre-first, because I guess lacked the maturity and discipline to move on with the rest of my class. That was such a disappointment to me, but after awhile I made new friends, but I never got over feeling as though I wasn’t good enough.

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First grade – I’m second from the right, my two best friends on either side. Josie and Evangeline.

Then in second grade.  I was always getting yelled at and I was always crying and  I remember how this teacher could barely look at me and I’d start crying and because she always made me cry, I then got tagged with the moniker “Howling Coyote”.  She must have been pretty intimidating and scary to me for whatever reason. But, I was always in trouble in that class and I can’t remember why.  On the playground, a young roundish Mexican boy name Bobby Gonzalez would be my worst tormentor and others would then follow suit.

Mrs. McConnell, third grade was of Japanese descent married to an American. I remember her name because it didn’t fit her looks.  Behind her back, I recall kids making racial slurs and comments. In retrospect, she was probably as American as I am as well. There was definitely no accent.  She was stern, but I remember learning, the alphabet and how to form my letters properly with her.  In her class is when I would learn to read  so she was okay.  I loved reading and penmanship and because of her and the teacher that followed, I had  beautifully formed letters.  Of course, I know I wasn’t the only one with good penmanship because it was stressed to us in those days. Sadly, this would not continue because as the years have past,  young people today can hardly write cursive at all. I noticed too that girls were generally better than boys at cursive and boys tended to print better.  I knew a few boys who could do both equally well, but that wasn’t the norm. 

I remember my 4th grade teachers vaguely. That year I started out the year in Alabama and finished it in California. My 4th grade teacher had also been my fathers. I think her name was Mrs. Foote. and then I had Mrs. Newman in California. Nothing terribly exciting there except again, Bobby Gonzalez.  He quit calling me “howling coyote” but would tease me about my newly acquired southern drawl, exaggerating it by just calling out “y’all”.  Why he hadn’t noticed my accent before I don’t know other than perhaps it got stronger that year I was away.

School districts were divided and Bobby would be no more until junior high.  These next years were when I remember learning about and growing fond of the library.

My 5th grade teacher was also strict but I’m not sure fair, perhaps she was but I couldn’t tell. I  know I wasn’t a favorite.  Sometimes I thought she liked me fine but at other times not so much.  However, she was the one who discovered I could draw when she asked all the kids to draw a picture for Veterans Day, in addition to writing an essay to go along with it.  She would then enter it in a competition.  I painted a field of poppies on a hill.  Myself and Alex Rapach, a new boy in school, won top honors for our art and essays.  He was a great artist and always knew he would grow up to be an architect. Knowing what I know now about architects, it was no wonder, he was a natural.  During recess, he would make me hanky mice, while I played jacks.  He then taught me how to make them myself, a skill I have long since forgotten, but he was my first crush and because of that I was always trying to keep up.  Until that year I never realized I could be good at drawing or painting. I enjoy them both, but the truth of it is, I’m just okay at it.  I accidentally finish something worthwhile, but it’s rare and those all belong to other people now. Mostly because they loved them, so they were gifted. Whaaat?  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

By 6th grade, our love had faded and then came Miss Brennenstuhl, who would further cultivate my artistic nature. I’m not sure I was liked that well at first because I am a talker, a fault that aggravated all my teachers actually, but we connected through my art, which she encouraged and through music and stories.  She loved reading to us and she did so so well, that I was able to see those stories play out in my mind like I was there with the characters.  Between those two teachers my love for books and reading grew exponentially.  If anything could shut me up, it would be a book. That year I would become lost and feral in Alaska with Buck and I would learn about the trials of Anne Frank for the first time.

What connected us and made Miss Brennenstuhl stand out was dance.  I think I may have really wanted to impress her because one day, I mentioned I had an Arthur Murray Way record on dancing. It came complete with diagrams for foot placement. She asked if I could bring it and I supposed I could and did. I think my mom bought it in hopes dad would learn to dance and maybe take her dancing,  but I believe I was the one who got the most use out of it.

With me as her guinea pig, I say that because the one thing I don’t have is rhythm,  but she was patient with me and she and I would demonstrate to the rest of the class,  the steps to the Samba, the Foxtrot, box step and the Tango.  I was a klutz, but I always got to be the first one to try a new routine with her.  Boy did she light up when she danced and it was thrilling to see.  I was quite tickled and pleased.

Another time, for art class, I drew a huge Bird of Paradise that turned out magnificently. It’s pose was similar to the second photo below but it’s tail spread like the first, it was beautiful if I may say so.  She loved it and hung it up in her classroom for the remainder of the year.  At the end of the school year, she asked if I would mind if she kept it.  I gladly gave it to her and when I went to visit her several years later, it was still up in her room. I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but she built me up in so many ways.  Most importantly, she proved to me that she hadn’t lied when she said she liked it.  Do you know how that would make a kid who got beat up and knocked around at home feel?  She made me feel valued and that meant the world to me.

Later on, I would look back at the teachers I had and the ones I liked the most were not necessarily the easy going ones, but the ones that had structure.  I remember a teacher that goofed off all the time in class and I nearly failed her class. There were no guidelines, I never felt like I knew what was expected of me.  I remember my boyfriend getting straight A’s in her class, but not me.  He was one of those that never studied either and boy was I surprised when he graduated with honors.

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I’m in almost center just above the words “junior”, my best friends to my right. Bobby Gonzalez, thinned out by then and is third boy, upper right. He only rarely teased me by then.

Since then I have figured out, judging by my son that I may have had ADD. I wasn’t stupid, just needing that structure. I remember when we moved to a different area, the school he would have been assigned to would be open concept, a no walls classroom.  So we drove him elsewhere, we knew he would never be able to focus in that environment.  Even to this day, I’m a tell me what you want and don’t beat around the bush kind of girl, because if you don’t make it clear, you can bet, I won’t get it. I’m also the gaze out the window kinda girl, easily distracted. I’ve gotten better, but it wasn’t easy growing up.

If you were to watch me clean house, you’d see that in action. If you remember the diagram of Billy in Family Circus, taking the long way to get from point A to point B?  That’s me. I’m sure I’d make the average person dizzy watching me work.  But… I get the job done and I can be OCD … I like a place for everything and everything its place.

Have a good “Lockdown Day”!  Be kind to someone and give them a call or just say “Hi”

I caught my neighbor outside yesterday and we yakked for awhile.  He lives alone, so imagined he’d be lonely,  so from 40 feet, we talked, keeping our social distance. I think he appreciated it.