Ferguson – Where Are You?

I’ve not been online for awhile.Ferg

I lost my dog.

I don’t know if the coyotes got him or perhaps the homeless that live at the bottom of the hill have him.  They admitted to seeing him, but because their camps are booby trapped and Hep A is rampant in them, not to mention that the one at the bottom of our hill is a known meth lab and heaven knows what else is there that even cops won’t go in there.

I have no way of knowing if they decided to keep him.  Soooo, I’m in a frump, majorly depressed.  My kitty won’t eat and I’m afraid she may be next. She is 17, after all.

It amazes me how something so small can get into your heart and wrench it out. Chloe, our cat,  has always behaved from Day 1 as though Ferguson was an inconvenience, an interloper and a nuisance to her.  She was here first and he was so damn needy.

She knows. She hasn’t been eating and her usual sleep all day life pattern has been disrupted and she walks around looking for him.  She goes in and out of rooms as though she thinks he will materialize from heaven knows where. I’m thinking she misses him too. Even though they generally didn’t get along, when night time came or it was cold, they’d call a truce.f13

It happened on July 2.  I was out in the yard pulling weeds and planting to prepare for our big fourth of July BBQ and Ferguson came out to lift his leg on a plant I’d just relocated. Of course.

I hadn’t realized how the day had gotten away from me, so I said to him, “Oh, I’m sorry buddy, you need your walk!”  I was working on a slope on the other side of our fence. So, I “jumped” over the fence to get his leash in the house, but turned and he was nowhere to be seen.  I figured the little guy had gone back into the house or if he’d gone down the hill, he’d be right back up.  But, he didn’t. Nothing.  Poof!  He disappeared.

I called out but he was nowhere to be found.  He’s gone down the hill before on a number of occasions but he always comes back up within minutes. Little did I realize we would have an earthquake a couple of days later and it’s a known fact, dogs flee before quakes. I waited only a few before I got worried.  I called and called, but nothing.  My husband got home from work, my brother, who was painting the fence stopped and we all went searching.  Within an half hour after my last sighting of him, the whole neighborhood was out en force to search.  Another half hour later, the neighborhood kids had created posters to put up.

Range Rovers, Pick ups and Armada’s were cruising the streets for him. I was shocked at how quickly the neighborhood was mobilized. I told them they didn’t have to but they insisted.  They said, “He’s family, we do have to!” Everyone loves Ferguson.

He was after all their favorite sidewalk sweeper. His tail was good for something.

f12

Hubby and I had joked in Alabama that everyone in town knew Ferguson’s name but I bet not a one knew ours. Everyone always asks about Ferguson and I’d bet the whole of Etowah County is praying for him.

It is now going on four days.  No Ferguson.

The first day, I went down the hill but heard screaming and profuse foul language.  That prevented me from going further. As I said, the homeless camp below is a known meth lab, and that even the police won’t go down there.  They say it’s booby trapped. It may be.  My neighbor, Val and I went over to the other side of the railroad tracks with binoculars to see if we could see movement.  We see our house clearly.  (see photo) There’s so much brush and he’s such a little guy, did we really believe we’d see anything?  We hope. We post signs along the way.  We talk to everyone, especially other dog walkers. Some we know, some we don’t.  We scan the slope for over a half hour. We later go to the cul de sac where the trail leading to those camps begin and ventured forward a little ways to get a different vantage.  Never going in so far that we couldn’t be seen, of course.  I’m guessing our husband’s would have had a coronary if they knew.  By then, it was getting dark.  We meet some people headed to the camp.  They are well dressed but tell us, they have family there and they bring food and goods to them. We tell them about Ferguson and they promise to convey the message. We are out of flyers so we have nothing to leave them. Val gives them her number. I notice they have a small child with them, so in my mind I’m questioning the danger factor.h3

That night, Hubby and I hear the coyotes howling and growling.  It was a big pack.  I hadn’t heard them like that in months.  I thought with all the homeless around that they had moved on.  The likelihood of Ferguson surviving that was nil.  I finally broke down and bawled, hubby too.  Our hopes are dashed. How can something so little break our hearts like that?

f14

When I took this picture in slo-mo, I found myself with two Fergs. I’d love to just get one of those back.

Day two,  I spend most of the day on all my Social Media connections,  posting pictures of Ferguson and the details of his disappearance.  I get some feedback on what to do next and how to get the most of my postings.  Friends and those in the know reassure me that as little as he is, he could easily hide and stay safe. I go to post more posters.  I’m thinking, the Sprinter Station which is below us and off to our right a little ways would be a good spot to post something, since I knew the homeless often cross over the tracks at that juncture, but there was no posting permitted.  As I turn away, a young woman saw the poster and shouted, “That’s “Woofy Boy”!  I ask her if she’d seen him (while at the same time thinking, my dog already has a nick name?) and she said, yes. He was at their camp the night before, then turned to the other two men to get their affirmation, they agree but are not as sociable.  I told her I was worried the coyotes might have gotten him and she said, “no,  he was still there in the morning”.

“Is he still there?” I ask

“I don’t know, I haven’t been there all afternoon.”  The guys were getting impatient and walk away.

“I can go check and call you, your number is right here” and she took the flyer with her.

“Call me” I shout.

She tells me to “wait there” and I do.

It was all I could do to stay rooted and wait. I waited and waited, but no call.  Finally, I get a hold of hubby and he says, “What should I do?”

“I don’t know”.  A few minutes later he’s scrambling down the hill.   A few minutes after that, I too am heading up the path, police or no police.

I stop at the first camp which is camouflaged like a military dugout. Invisible to the eye.  I only knew it was there because I heard them talking.  I shouted out.  The guy inside gruffly asks who I was and what I wanted.  I told him.h2

He responded with, “No, I haven’t seen it!”  Sweetly, I tell him I have a flyer.

He says, “Don’t come in (as if I would), I’m coming out”  A few seconds later, he appeared.  He was a big bruiser. He took the flyer and said, “Oh yeah, I did see it, but he’s gone now”  give me the poster and I’ll keep an eye out for him.”

So, I go back on the trail,  and I come across a young man swinging a golf club and all sorts of things are going through my head.  My heart is about to pop out of my chest and I’m wondering what in the hell am I doing?  Shiiiiit, Do I keep going or do I talk to him?

I talk to him, all the while watching that club, then I notice a golf ball. Both, viable weapons. He turns and walks with me and tells me how Ferguson was stationed by his tent but that he wouldn’t let him touch him.  He tells me that he didn’t push it because it was getting dark and he didn’t want him to run off and get eaten by coyotes and that Ferguson was still there in the morning.  I thanked him.

The young man and I keep walking until I finally run into my hubby who is talking to a woman other  than the one I’d seen earlier, who was also friendly and promising she’d keep an eye out.  He also never went into their actual camp. Mind you, none of these people look like your typical homeless, except for the young man with the club, maybe. We pointed out our yard above them and the young man said, “If I catch him, I’ll take him and “throw” him over the fence”.  Hubby says, “you can knock on the door, that’s okay, there’ll be a little reward”.  We thanked them for their kindness and left. There are probably six or eight camps, I could not get close enough to photograph the others.

h-1

Day three is the fourth of July and still no word.  Hubby says, I’m gonna go down and check.  I hand him some dog food and treats.  Some time later, he comes back and says, they were not nearly as friendly today, except the lady.

Day four, I hear screaming and yelling again.  There’s a disturbance below, so we stay away.  The women swear like sailors, but this time I hear men.  Something is going down and we want no part of it.   We go to the animal shelter hoping maybe someone has turned him in.  We give them all the info and at first they frown wondering why we delayed coming to them.  I told them the above story and they understood.  They admitted they’d seen all our online postings anyway.  We explained how we had hoped “they” would have gotten hold of him and brought him to us.  The Humane Society told us they are inclined to believe the homeless will keep him as they generally do.  They tell us it happens all the time.

I start getting texts and emails from people wanting us to get a police escort and search warrants to go in there.  Hubby and I are not crazy about that idea. For one, we already know their reputation and they now know where we live.  If they are as rough as they sound or are reputed to be, there could be ramifications for anything we do aggressively.  My brother in law, in a puffed up display of ignorance says,  “you can’t let them bully you like that, holding you hostage in your own home” and going on about showing force etc.  etc.  Of course, he doesn’t live here and I wish it were that easy.  I will however talk to the police and ask them what they think is the best course of action.

Day five, I don’t know what else to do.  Folks, I live in Oceanside, California.  If anyone knows anyone out this way, let them know our situation and hopefully, we can get Ferguson back.

A part of me is angry Ferguson took off.  I mean, how could he do that to us or to himself?  He had it good here. Is he hungry, cold? Have they tied him up? He would absolutely hate that. He always slept between Hubby and I and when I crawled into bed last night I instinctively reached out to ruffle his ears and stroke his little frame. What were you thinking little buddy?  Was it because we’ve had company? Did you feel neglected with all of us busily working? Was it the earthquake? WHY?!

His Backstory:

This was our first look at this little guy.  He was sitting like this on our stoop for two days on a hot, summer day in Alabama.

img_0061

I put water and cat food in a dish and kept telling him to “go home”.

Isn’t he just the cutest?  We learned later that he’d been wandering and scavenging around town for months after a big tornado hit.  If you check the date on the photo, it’s been almost exactly 8 years we’ve been calling him our own and now he’s gone. He’s gotten gray around the face and shoulders since then.  My hubby loved it when he’d drape his head over his arm while snuggling in. See the gray?Ferg 5

Initially, he wouldn’t let us touch him, so my sister and I sat in our driveway and talked to him until he let us near enough to get him but he just rolled over and let me pick him up.  My sister is an animal whisperer so I begged her to let me have first contact because I was in love.  Even so, we did our due diligence and searched for his owners with ads in the paper for two months. We put up posters everywhere and hit the vets and shelters, trying our best to find them. His teeth were nearly rotted out, he was wormy, flea ridden and dirty.  We checked for a chip and got him his shots and dental cleaning.

When I’d get home from work or anything where I was gone no more than two hours, he’d do a crazy “happy dance” and run all over the house with his butt looking like it was going to get ahead of the rest of his body.  When he peed, he did so with his back legs up doing a handstand and the first time he found four objects he wanted to christen, he did so without ever hitting all fours, turning on his front legs only, in one full swoop. The first time he did that, I laughed so hard I thought I’d pee my pants.

How can I be soooo sad?

Because that little scamp is and can be a a little dickens, like a child, he burrowed his way into our hearts and it hurts.

Ferguson was the first dog my hubby ever had and he didn’t think he’d like him, but he bawled harder than I did at first. Even now, the tears fight their way to the surface unbidden. Who couldn’t have resisted that face?

 At his first vet visit, the vet guessed he may have been around two years old then, which I doubted because of the condition of his teeth (I’d been a human dental assistant and that didn’t make sense to me) but then he was also malnourished when we found him. He pranced like a show dog and heeled like a well trained dog. That’s another reason for believing that someone ought to be missing him.  At the time we didn’t know about the tornado websites, but a friend did and she helped check those out. Nothing.  In fact my friend was even more determined to find his owners while I’m secretly hoping she doesn’t. Yeah, he wormed his way in real good.

These are some of our memories:

This was the picture we used on the posters and ads to find his owners. It was this picture that someone saw and told us he wan’t a long hair Chihuahua, but a Papillon. The vet thought he might have Chihuahua in him but a breeder said, no.  He’s all clean here. Initially, he had a limp, but with good nourishment that went away.

IMG_0064

 

f5

Here he is taking a breather under our car or by a tree on our hike in Colorado.  This little guy had more stamina on a long hike than my grand kids. When he got tired or cold, I’d put him in my shirt or backpack. He loved going on walks.

f11f9

Sign? What sign?

f8f10

Okay. I’m done.

f6f2

He loved our tranquil walks at Noccalula Falls in Alabama and hikes in the Sawatch Mountains of Utah and Park City.

f7

He loved taking over our bed, even in this cushy hotel room with lots of pillows.  You’d a thought he’d paid for it. lol

f3

Daddy’s tummy is just right and this hammock at grandma’s is pretty cool too.

f4

A special day on the beach with mommy.

Day 6 – I spend all day putting up flyers, talking to people and visiting the police department and talking to Sheriff and Code Enforcement.

The police department photocopied flyers to hand out to those officers that work that area.  They definitely do not recommend we go down there because of diseases and such, plus most of them are on drugs, tend to be erratic and other hazards related to that. They recommend I call Code Enforcement. I call Code Enforcement to get an address but end up leaving a message.

I talk to people at the Sprinter (rail station), who I know will ride by the area in question and they are awesome and say they will keep a lookout.

I go to another station and see the Sheriff congregating, so I talk to them and they take photos of my flyer and say they will gladly keep an eye out.

I leave flyers at businesses nearby and they hang them up.  They are agreeable.

Code enforcement calls back and tells me they can’t hand out flyers.  I tell the lady that’s not what I’m asking and she sounds like it would be a major inconvenience to accommodate me.  PLUS… she tells me that I could get fined for putting up all those flyers and… get this, a lady who put up flyers for her missing child was fined and not allowed to do so!!!  Welcome to California.  I talk to her a few more minutes and before I hang up she says she looks forward to seeing me.  Wow!  Maybe, I’ll be the one in jail.

Well folks, all I can say, is it’s in God’s hands now.  Ferguson wherever you are, we love you and miss you.  We hope you are safe.f1

 

Addiction Confession

For a long time, I thought I was one of those people with a non addictive personality.  Like most people, when you think of addictions you think of alcohol and drugs, right?  Who am I kidding?

An addiction is an addiction and addictions come in many colors, shapes and forms.   You may have one and not even realize it.  Yours won’t be like mine or quite possibly anyone else’s. When you discover it, you may not even think it’s an addiction and/or serious.

Some addictions can steal time, money, friends, family, or productivity.  Some are actually okay to have. But… if it serves no purpose and keeps you from being the best you can be then maybe you need to take a hard look at it.

Even if you should discover that it’s there, you may want to weigh it’s impact on your life, in which case you may want to blow it off or do something about it. If you aren’t sure,  you could ignore it and pretend it isn’t what it is or you may just give into it, wallow in it and not give a flip about it. After all, what’s the big deal if it’s not killing you or anyone else… or is it?

At some point in your life, later on in your life, you may be forced to take a harder look and begin to fight it.

That’s me. It has taken many attempts and fails to realize these habits are a form of addiction because they control me. That’s when I had to take a closer look and gain control.

Mind you, I cannot be so arrogant to think I’ve actually gotten the upper hand because I haven’t.  Recognizing you have a problem does not absolve you of it. I’m like on a see saw, up and down.

My addiction?  As harmless as they may seem to you, they are real to me.

Sweets.  Binge watching T.V. while playing games and procrastination. I might add… I have an excuse for every single one of them.

SWEETS

I’ve always known about this one and in times past it was never a problem. I could pick up a gallon of ice cream and eat the whole darn thing.  A package of Igloo’s or “drumsticks” and eat them all in one sitting.  When I was young, physically fit and active, it was no biggy.  I also didn’t do it all the time.  It only became a problem in my later years when it started affecting my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and mood. I’m not sure when it happened because it crept up on me slowly.  Perhaps it was because as a kid, we weren’t allowed many sweets, so it became an obsession. My favorites.

It affects me the same way as my reaction to alcohol. The next day after a sugar binge, I go into a deep depression.  And then guess what? Yup, I need a sugar fix and I start looking for anything that might curb it.  Sometimes there’s nothing sweet around, but guess what?  There’s popcorn. Quick sugar conversion carb. Yup! It is.  Get a nasty carb and it quickly turns to sugar.  I don’t like bread, so it’s not my go to, but if I can’t run to the nearest 31 Flavors… I’ve been known to settle.  Oh! and guess what?  A cocktail or drink at the end of the day works too.  I may not be an alcoholic, but alcohol is loaded with sugar!!!! (BTW I rarely drink alcohol)

You may not know it, but start taking notice.  If you have an extremely cranky day or feel a deep, dark sadness after a sugar fest, or with one too many drinks with a friend, then do something about it now.  Your body is trying to tell you something.  Keep in mind, this won’t apply to everyone. We are, after all,  uniquely different.

In my case it has affected my health and my motivation.  When you’re in a downer, it’s all you can do to get out the door and do something productive.  So guess what happens? I justify to the next addiction.

T.V.

Here’s the ugly gory.  Because I write screenplays or I should say have the goal to do so and I’ve written a few, I justify sitting in front of the T.V eating my sweets or whatever.  After all, an artist must study her craft, right?  I especially binge seasonal shows, but not all shows.  My hubby, God bless him, never complains or puts me down for which I’m grateful.  BTW, I am not obese and never will be but I’m certainly unmotivated at times.

My goal is to study the formatting and seeing what people are watching and why and that’s good. BUT, I’m obsessive.  Once I start a show, it’s day in and day out until it’s over and then on to the next.  Much like the box of ice cream.  I keep going until it’s done and I seldom hop around from show to show and when I do, it’s to accommodate hubby.  He’s not much of a T.V. guy anyway.  He’s on the computer either working his eBay after his regular day job or and now thank goodness, riding his bike again.  (His truck broke down, so he started riding to work until they could figure out what was wrong with it and now that he’s back on the bike, he’s remembering how good it felt.)

The problem here is that I usually have a game going simultaneously, so how much am I really getting out of the shows I watch?  I could do so much more. So out the window go the important things.

Screenplays.

PROCRASTINATION .

Procrastination and excuses go hand in hand and is a result of all the above.  I want to write great T.V. and/or a great screenplay, but… my self confidence, for lack of a better word…sucks!

What I’ve learned from T.V. is that the shows with agenda’s seem to be the ones that get made and that is discouraging. Many of the shows these are making “moral” statements, and I use the word loosely.  They are conditioning us and our children to adopt certain lifestyles.  Everything and anything goes.  The supernatural is fostered and I admit, I’m a sucker for a good surreal experience as well.

And when I’m in my melancholy state, turning out a good script is difficult.  If I don’t feel inspired, how can I inspire? So, I’m in a downer, I put it off for when I will “feel better”, “happy” and motivated.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

Now it may seem like I’m plugging someone else’s blog and I guess I am, but when I was reading a blog some of you may follow as well, called bgddyjim ,  I realized that my addictions were keeping me from being and doing amazing things.  Every time I read his blog, I’m inspired by the discipline it takes to stay on task. Over coming any addiction is not easy. It takes work recovering from an addiction and he’s the proof in the pudding, you might say.

And in light of that I’m making some changes.  I have been working out in a haphazard way for some time, but am finally getting a routine that is more frequent. I wish I could go cold turkey on the sweets, but given that so many things have sugar in them, I’m eliminating the obvious ones first and learning about and adding acceptable substitutes in moderation.

First thing in the morning,  I generally turn on the news which, when I’ve heard them repeat the same thing over gain a jillion times, or when when the crap shows come on, I go over to shows on Netflix or Hulu.  Well, I am not turning the T.V. on at all. Finis. I have to do it this way because I have no self control and I know it. (By the way, this goal was short lived, so I’m starting again.)  It’ll be the hardest to control since it is important. Note to self:  I said control because I can’t very well eliminate it, but what I need to change is the game playing while watching.

I have scheduled the completion of a short film by the end of next month, which will hopefully be used to generate income for a bigger project.  Wish me luck.

And, because Jim mentioned how important his sponsor is in his last post, it dawned on me that I was in need of one.

The first group I joined was that of a group of novelists, bloggers and news reporters.  That was fine.  We’d critique each others work, but there were no screenwriters.  The problem with that is that in screenwriting, less is more.  Novelists tend to be wordy.  They have to fill the page with words.  It’s show, not tell.  We don’t have to explain or go into great detail about what is happening. Characters are not overly wordy.  “Readers”, the gatekeepers to producers, the ones your screenplay must get past first are looking for white.  White pages.  If there are too many words, it generally gets tossed without even getting looked at. Yeah, that’s how it is.  So, when people in this group read my screenplays, they kept wanting more words, more elaboration. So, I left the group.

San Diego is not a big movie making stand alone location to be, but it’s made leaps and bounds.  In the last five years, more groups and people are popping up everywhere and so, voila I found some recently.

A friend of mine, in the business, who puts on the Da Vinci International Film Festival  in Hollywood, once told me the best way to see how your work is doing is to produce your own.   Last year I helped with a film called You Are Me, which has won an award and made it to another film festival.  Blog6

Recently, I’ve connected with a group of new filmmakers, wanting to produce and act.  I will be working with them in filming The Late Bird, not my writing, but with the prospect of doing mine at a later date.  Right now we are still seeking funding through Kickstarter.  Not much has been raised yet but… if you care to help?

Since then, I found this other group and was eagerly accepted.  My new group:  SD MediaPros  Filmmakers who encourage one another by offering classes to give new filmmakers like moi the tools to succeed.  Woohoo!

Why didn’t I think of that before?

 

 

I Did It!!!!

DCIM100GOPROG0051360.Yes, I did.  I did it.  I jumped out of an airplane and it was amazing.

I did a tandem sky dive with GoJump Oceanside.  What an experience.

I started out yesterday June 2, but the weather just wasn’t cooperating.  Clouds were too low, so I had to reschedule or wait around and hope it would clear. I rescheduled.  As it was, it never did clear and we would have waited around for nothing.

So here it is Monday June 3rd and it’s looking grim again.  I was scheduled for 1:00 pm and at around 2:30 in the afternoon, there was a break.  Little by little, the sky opened up.  My original jumping buddy hadn’t shown yet.  So while everyone was getting into their harnesses,  Rob,  this guy from the UK, who Hubby and I met the previous day, said he’d help set me up in the meantime.

DCIM100GOPROG0011325.

Getting into my harness was easy and not unlike my rock climbing harness with the exception of the shoulder portion, which he cinches up for me. All the while, he’s telling me what would be expected of me, which was much more than I thought it would be.

Once airborne and it’s time to jump, I was needing to put my legs over the side, tuck them under the body of the plane, lean in to my partner, hold onto my straps and go. I had to ask him a couple of times, to make sure I was getting what he was saying through his British brogue.   So, I think I repeated it a couple of times back to be sure.  I was only nervous I might forget one of the four simple things he’d told me. lol  Surprisingly, I was more excited than scared or nervous.   Perhaps, it was because I’d always had flying dreams as a kid. It somehow seemed like a natural thing to do.

Then we did our walk to the plane and of course, I had to do the “cheesecake pose”.

DCIM100GOPROG0031331.

Betty Boop, I’m not.

As it turns out Rob got to be my jumping buddy after all.  It was nice to have gotten someone we had already built a rapport with earlier on.

Rob and the rest of the crew were amazing.  Friendly and helpful.  They recommend, no, they insist we take our jewelry off and/or any loose items off our person, but of course, they can’t force you.  I debated on taking my wedding ring off.  I sort of felt like it was on pretty tight.

So here we are on the plane, getting ready.  The girl across the aisle from me and I were laughing and making faces but as soon as the door opened, the wind coming in made them for us.

We climbed for about 15 mintues.

At 13,000 feet,  we’re off! Cowabunga!

DCIM100GOPROG0051359.

It was exhilarating. I still can’t believe I did it.

And of course the face distortion shot. And, the chute deployment.

At first, it was just so surreal.

DCIM100GOPROG0051361.

DCIM100GOPROG0051371.

I was trying to remember if there was something I was forgetting.  My ears suddenly popped and ouch that hurt, so Rob told me to pinch my nose and blow.  That helped.

DCIM100GOPROG0061439.Then, suddenly my tummy started to flip flop.  I got motion sick – squeamish.

That, fortunately didn’t occur until the chute opened and we were nearing the landing point.  By the way, the chute opening did not jerk, like I imagined it would.  It was quite smooth.  What got me is the swirling around as we maneuvered into the drop zone. It’s all about timing for so many jumpers to land near one another, so we spun around a few times to get situated but, it was like a roller coaster with way too many loop de loops.  I was thankful I’d had a light lunch.DCIM100GOPROG0071443.

And, here we are.  Safe and sound.

Hubby did not do this with me.  He actually didn’t want to  but he did want to be there.  Unfortunately,  he had to work.  As soon as he got off, he came running down but still missed it by about 10 minutes. Fortunately, for me it was a good thing, because shortly after we’d landed, I noticed my wedding ring missing off my finger and I thought crap he will absolutely kill me.

We looked around on the ground as though we actually thought we’d find it.  I wanted to die. I had no clue.  Then, I remembered handing over a baggy to the girl behind the counter.  Did I?

ring

Yes, I did.

P.S. Oh my, was my hair a tangle when I went to brush it later that night.  I thought I’d pull every strand out  getting the gnarls out. Thank heaven my hair isn’t that long.

Memorial Day Hike

It was a lovely idea my Hubby came up with to go on a hike Memorial Day.

However… the route he’d suggested was extremely popular, so we would have to get up very early to find a place to park and go up.  Groan.  I didn’t want to get up early on a holiday!

As it turned out, it was pouring rain when we woke up, groan again.  Not to be deterred, Hubby managed to get me up and going.  He said, if nothing else, we’ll get in a nice drive.  By the time I was dressed, however, the clouds were dissipating.

We got up to the trailhead of Iron Mountain, after first picking up a Starbucks of course, at around 7:30 AM.hike1

It was lovely.  The beginning portion had us going through a canopy of scrub oak.

The trail was long and arduous, and I was gasping most of the way up.  I was never known to have super strong lungs, even when we did this all the time.  I’m super strong from working out, but did not have the stamina for this long haul.  My understanding was that it was a 2 1/2 mile hike,  It was more like 6 miles round trip with over 1,000 foot altitude gain. Ugh.

We saw so many people, happy people coming down and ones who passed us going up.hike2

One group were these vets, carrying a flag in honor of all the service people who’d fallen.hike4

They’d been up and were now heading down and were only too happy to pose.

WE saw lovely flora and fauna (are bees in the category of fauna?) plus marvelous views of the mountains.  Many wished us Happy Memorial Day and we wished it back.

hike5hike11hike8

I also had a video that I haven’t managed to download though I keep trying. My apologies.

On the way down, we saw this clump of bees that we can’t figure out how we missed seeing it on the way up, given the size it was and that it was right there.  hike10One woman told us it was a relocating bee cone.  I think that’s what she said, so if anyone knows better, please tell me.  She explained that when a hive gets too big, they break off and regroup until a new queen is formed and then they take off and find a place to hive. hike7

At the top they had a telescope and also this tube-like thing, that had the directional for all the peaks and locations in the area. You would point to the location you wanted and look through it and find where you just drove in from or whatever marker was near your home.  I was all turned around and things were not where I thought they’d be.  Pretty neat actually.

hike6hike9

Something else I hadn’t noticed much was the dressing of flowers on the path down just before getting near the end of our hike. Which, I noticed later,

made a great backdrop for our own Memorial Day pose.hike12

When we got down, I could hardly walk, my calves and back were in agony.  And,  and I thought I was fit!  I guess I’ll have to have a chat with my trainer.

All in all, it was a great day!hike3

The Younger Man

From a woman’s perspective, it is an ego boost when a younger guy “hits” on you.  It’s been written, that the passion of younger men are better suited to that of older women and yes there is so much more energy and enjoyment to be found between the sheets. Trust me.  But then, to be honest, I’ve not had the pleasure of being with an older man, so who really knows?

My hubby is 13 years younger. We did not intend to become a couple. He was definitely not looking at me in that way, nor I him. We were co-workers. He, worked for my ex husband, truth be told. My Hubby Then was all work and no play. My Hubby Now, was always doing something. He loved the outdoors and mountain climbing, skiing and riding bikes.  I did none of those things because Hubby Then, thought I needed to only do “mom/wife” things, cook, clean and help out at our business. I was in my early 40’s at the time. I still wanted to play.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I finally talked Hubby Then to let me learn to ski and I got a bicycle, (for Pete’s sake, we owned a bicycle business, how could I not own a bike?) but forget anything else. Can you imagine having to beg someone to do things? I still wanted to learn to rock climb though and it was just killing me.  Especially, when Hubby Now would come back from his trips and share all his adventures. I was envious, but for sure that was out.  Let me point out something else here. Let me also point out and clarify that age is not the reason Hubby Then was how he was, because he was 10 years younger than I, so it wasn’t an age thing, but a power/dominance thing.  Perhaps because of our age difference, he felt he had to exert his “alpha-ness”.

“Hubby Then” liked “Hubby Now” then and gave in to letting me do a few things with him, like… help him shop for a house and later help him pick out stuff for his new house. Woman things. Hubby Now and I became best friends and that’s all it was for a long time. Then one day it changed. I told Hubby Then that I thought I was growing fond of Hubby now and he poo-poo’d it.  I quit working at the business by my choice and eventually divorced Hubby Then. No one wants their feelings trivialized or ignored.

A year later, at a mutual friend’s house, I ran into Hubby Now and we discussed the ridiculousness of our attraction for one another, age not being the main thing and eventually started dating, but not until he went to the ex and asked if that would be a problem, especially since they still worked together.  It wasn’t.  We have little in common other than we like each other. We don’t share the same music, but he’s getting to like mine and I tolerate his (he used to be in a punk rock or is it hard rock(?) band which still exists) and much of the activities we used to do, we have stopped doing to the degree we did them.  Sex is still a perk and life with him can still be an adventure and well, we just get along.

The downside of our age gap are many.  At times, he seems so immature and I ache to be with someone my age. That can be true of any sex at any age. There’s also the broad cultural base I came from and his limited tastes that we are working through.  As a former flight attendant, I had a love for travel, education, culinary tastes, the arts and so much more.  His life was pretty basic and has always been limited to his bicycle, his style music and the sports he enjoyed when he was younger but has little desire for anymore, especially my favorite, rock climbing.  Foreign travel has been unappealing and well foreign to him.  Then he will surprise me with the help of his mom and treat me to a sunset wine cruise on a sailboat.Russ and I

We moved from Colorado to Alabama and now California. We no longer ski, but still hike and he rides his bike. I no longer bicycle here, not since I was run off the road and got a head concussion. Traffic is too intense here, so at my age, I won’t risk it. I am still adventurous and will be taking my first leap from an airplane, any day now.  He will watch. That has to be posted, of course. Even though his mother is extremely well educated, she never taught him anything, but that’s another story.  He is learning though.

One of the downsides is that Hubby Now still needs to work. I’m retired, so that means putting any travel plans on hold until he is able. My friends are all gallivanting around and I must wait.  I sometimes worry, I might not be able to keep up when he’s free to go. I know I’m hardy, but it is still scary because there’s no one I’d love to travel with more.  He’s fun to travel with. He likes looking for the out of the way, unknown places, especially in the U.S.  He’s not as open to foreign travel…yet but I think he’s warming up to it, especially since I made friends with a young lady from France and she stayed with us awhile.

Our energy levels are slightly different and I think I’m stronger than he, at times.  (It must be the sex.)   BTW, I have no clue how I got red lettering up above, I noticed I’d misspelled chauvinistic and when I corrected it, everything in that paragraph turned red, except the corrected word.  Ooops!  When I posted, the red didn’t show up, so now I need to fix it somehow. Well, it bleeped it all.  I guess it wasn’t important.

Anyway, back on track here. Back to the good thing, is that we still have the friend and lover bond in tact.  We can talk about our differences and he is seeing that he does need to broaden his perspectives.  Thank goodness his mom is on board with that too. Fortunately, she likes the arts as well, so he’s seeing it’s importance.  Right now, she and I go to events together, but on occasion, he too will buy tickets to this or another and share it with me, though it’s rare.  One wonderful and humiliating things he does for me,  when I dare to have him look at something I’ve written, is proofread.  He is the best.  So, if this is less than perfect, it’s because he didn’t see it. LOL

baja6

I’m into movies and such and he’s not, but I got him to run lines with me the other day to help my daughter with an audition she was prepping for and he loved doing it. (Yes, that’s my daughter, she likes being the tough “guy”) My daughter Marco Polo’d me that it sounded like he was having fun and it did.  It’s not just him that has had to make changes. I do things with him I don’t care for as well. The main thing with big gap marriages or any marriage or relationship for that matter,  is that for them to work you must be flexible and communicate. Without communication, it can all go to hell.

Why So Many Homeless?

A great line from the cartoon Yogi Bear comes to mind. “DON’T FEED THE BEARS!” You feed them, they won’t forage for themselves.

I don’t like to get political, mostly because I’m a horrible debater.  I can’t come up with quick, witty, “smart” comebacks, so I avoid confrontation like a plague. So what comes next is not intended to spark ire or dissent from any of my followers. I am one of those that is registered non partisan.  I WANT to vote for the person not their party.  That’s not always easy, because parties have “leanings”.

What got me going on the homelessness issue is that we have a lot of them in our area and it has become a major problem.  So much so that a FB Web page was created to vent and possibly find solutions to the problem.  Mostly to point out problem areas and…. vent.  Then, a friend of mine asked me to help her film a video featuring the homeless issues in our area.  Our goal is to find out who these people are and what is being done to alleviate their problem.  I skimmed on some of these points in my blog, Senseless deaths.  And, here’s the teaser… “in interviewing some of these folks, I made an interesting discovery …” but,   I’d be giving away too much if I say more. I won’t spill the beans.

In all this, my curiosity was peaked. I wanted to know more.  So, I began my research.  What follows is based on that and my own conclusions.

My research took me to website after website with statistics.  (I’m only sharing the one) What was interesting to me is that the majority of states with the highest number of homelessness are also states, with the exception of one, who vote primarily Democrat and are majorly “liberal”.  Yup!  It’s true.

Keep in mind, they did not break it down as such. It was just something that caught my attention.  Is it political?

Since liberals tend to dominate these states and are big into their causes, they are also states that offer the most services. In other words “HANDOUTS”.

This is how I feel about handouts.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Proverbs 13:4 : “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

The Bible is not the only place this is found.

Qur’an 13:11 Allah spoke that Allah would not change the destiny of a tribe(anyone) if they do not try hard to change it themselves. (This was the best I could find)

____

Do these folks, passionate about their causes, know exactly what they are doing? Possibly.  Maybe not. I’m sure the government does. Notice, I said “government”, not any one political entity.

PONDER THIS:  If they (the powers that be) keep the people poor and dependent then they become more pliable to whatever future purpose and they remain controllable. Nothing new here. It has been that way since time immemorial. Isn’t that how it is in third world countries? Yet… Why is it some of the people from those countries are breaking free of that cycle?  We, in this country used to have a very comfortable middle class, but that is disappearing. Why?

So how does this work?

Liberals are by and large educated people who can eloquently dictate to the poor people how to think. They make a lot of noise to push their way of thinking out in the forefront and they are very good at it.  One message constantly being force fed to the public is that Rich American’s are getting “rich” on the backs of the poor. Rich Americans are why they are where they are.  So they create this divide and festering angst against the rich or really anyone who is the power figure. What few people realize or take into account is that many of these same folks are also very rich.  Those in the entertainment field are the best examples.  They make their money dissing “corporate America” and playing up “the little guy” who has to go head to head with the “big guy”.  They create dramas all around the poor and the oppressed and victories over the “bosses, the power hungry billionaire tycoon of big corporations, who are evil and nasty.”  Some are, but I’ve met many an evil, oppressive “little guy/gal” in the work place as well.

Please know this,  I am not wealthy.  I did not retire on a fat pension.  I am 70 plus and guess what I still work. Heck, I drive for Uber and Lyft, (and I write) but that’s another story.

What people don’t realize is that, all this help and those wonderful programs is the equivalent of nothing more than “horse hobbling“.  The end goal is to keep people subservient. Horse hobbling limits their forward locomotion. Yes, let’s feed the children and do everything else for them,  kill their drive, so they never rise above doing what’s best for themselves. Yes, it is our Christian duty to help those needing help.  I’m sure other faiths have an equal thought on this as well.  This country, no this world was founded on survivors. You do or you die.

I’m not saying we don’t want to help people.  Heavens no.  The Bible has countless verses that tell us to feed our widows and orphans.

James 2:14-17 states:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Psalms 82:3 : Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Despite the tendency to believe Islam violent, the Qur’an and especially the hadith highlight how helping another human being is a fundamental aspect of Islam.

So do we help?  YES!  Absolutely. But we must consider to what end or to what extent.

Notice the Bible constantly refers to the “widows and orphans” and in some places the “elderly” .  We have a responsibility to help those who cannot, not will not help themselves.

So, my point is to get people to rise above their situations.  Life can get us all down.  I’ve been down enough to want to find a remote place and disappear to.  When I watch the news sometimes, I get so discouraged at how people treat each other, the crazy things they do to one another, that I’ll shout out “Stop the world, I want to get off!”.

Without disclosing what some of my interviewees have said, but based on that, giving up is not the answer.  

BUT,  for all I said about the liberals, the one thing we can all agree on, is that we have to  find ways of showing them love and getting them the help they need without enlarging the problem and that is the hard part.

Do’s and Don’ts –

Do’s

BE Kind

If you have time, talk to them, if only to say hello.  They are not invisible.  This lady on the right was fascinating.

No two people’s story is the same.V. Maria

If you know where the nearest outreach program is or if your church has one, let them know where that is. Carrying a list or card with that information on it to hand out, gives you something to share. Doing this lets them know you care.

Don’ts

Warning:  Be smart. Don’t go into places to find them, some are hardened criminals, ex-cons or drug dealers and could be dangerous.

Don’t give them unopened bags of food for their dog – it could be a sympathy ploy. They’ll return it to the store for cash for drugs.  Seen it happen.

Don’t give money-  I know it’s hard to resist sometimes, but one guy told my husband how much he made panhandling and it was more than hubby makes in a day doing legitimate work. Don’t think that wasn’t discouraging.

Money goes to booze and drugs.  If they need medication or health care, there are state programs that give that to them for free,  if they will go and get it. I know, I know nothing is truly free, but at the taxpayers expense free.

If they truly want help, they know where all these services are anyway. Food

Many of these folks already collect food stamps and social security or financial assistance of some sort.  Many have phones, courtesy of family and friends that want them to stay connected but have given up on rehabilitating them.  Some even have computers they can use at pretty much any coffee shop, library or restaurant.

There are college students and young people who are homeless.  Yes, that’s true. I don’t have documentation or interviews on them… yet.  When I do, it will be posted.

For some it’s a temporary situation.

All in all, if nothing else, I hope I’ve given you some pondering fodder.

P.S. This is some of the garbage the homeless have left behind my home, which was one of the things, the above lady talks about in our interview.  The main thing, is be kind.

Trash

Matthew chapter 25, 34-46

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply,
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Us Time in Dallas

When I went to visit my son, I had not expected to get a free day to be with just him.  Thanks to my daughter in law who thought we might like that, we got that.

Having time alone hadn’t happened since I don’t remember when. It’s been rare for us in any case, because once he got into and then out and since the Marines, he’s been all over the place. He first off went to Florida then to Lubbock for school. Then he met his wife, had children, started fostering and well, it’s been crazy. Prior to that was high school and sports, so without knowing it you realize it’s been a long time since one on one time.

Whew!  So here we are and what to do?  Well, that was easy.  We went to Dallas.  It turned out to be a very nice day. The weather was in our favor despite it’s fickleness everywhere this year.  I still carried my umbrella to our first stop, but didn’t need it. After the first few threatening moments, it cleared up. Still a little nippy at first.

Our first stop was Starbucks, a picture in front of the Kennedy memorial and Plaque and then the Red Museum, which tells the early history of Dallas, including the good, the bad and the ugly and slightly sanitized.

Well, let me tell you. Ry and I are the kind of the people that don’t just go in and out of a museum.  The guy at the front desk told us it would probably take an hour.  We were there over two.  We read and study everything.  That’s what we do.  As we left we chuckled about it.

When the kids were small, I had yearly passes to the San Diego Zoo.  It was perfect for us. We could take each visit, one section at a time and enjoy it.  It didn’t matter how many times we went, we still lingered.

The history of Dallas is complex and involved. It was apparent that in it’s day, there were controlling and omniscient powers that dominated the area. This exhibit covers those early days and the evolution of it’s early inhabitants, foundation, it’s railroads, entrepreneurs, politics, music and many other interesting facts including some prehistory.  Pretty neat.

We had lunch at Ellens’ which was awesome and everywhere we went we fought over who would pick up the tab.

Our next stop was, of course, the Kennedy Museum.  If you think we spent a long time at the Red Museum, you should have seen us here.  First of all they give you these earphone thingy’s that narrate step by step the chain of events, but in addition to that there are through it all, things written and photos that give you the backstory of the Kennedy’s plus also take you step by step to the assassination. Fortunately for us, we could stop the audio and do further perusals of our own.

Jack

We analyzed the spot where Oswald  shot President Kennedy from.  I say supposedly, because no matter how long I looked at it, it made no sense to me. I understand why there has been speculation on this.   I’ll explain. Take a look see.

Picture one shows where Oswald was situated when he took the shot.  Picture two is where he took the first shot.  In fact, by the second shot Kennedy’s vehicle was almost to the bridge. Keep in mind, the trees were small in those days.

shot2

Green vs red.  So why did he take the far shot instead of the near shot? or, better yet when the car was rounding the corner? Perch

You can see the angle they focus on (see no trees?) but once you’re in the building you can see so many easier possibilities. Those are far distances.  I want to know the why.

Well, you can imagine why it took us so long there.  If you’ve never been, check it out. It is fascinating and perplexing.  Has anyone else noticed that too?

After we were done there, we went to his favorite fishing spots.  My boy likes to fish and that’s an understatement. For his birthday Candace bought him a canoe (or kayak?) so he could go further out.  I got him a life vest and my brother and I included a gift certificate from Outdoor World, so he could outfit it with whatever else he might need.

My brother in San Antonio would come out two days later to make Ry’s day even better.

Our last shot of the day was a reflection of a beautiful day and special moment with a great guy and my son.Lake

Til next MARCH! Proud of you son.