Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Crooked House

is testing my patience. 

It was freezing in the house this morning, 24 degrees outside, and the floor installers had put my bookcase in front of the window I opened for them yesterday. So it was open all night, no wonder it was cold. Before sunrise, the sky was smoky to the east. I went to town yesterday morning and it was much worse there. I don't know where the smoke came from, but it was far enough to not smell too much, just very bad air.

 My living room right now. I love the color and grain of the laminate floors, as well as the 4-foot long boards. 

Two guys came Thursday to install the floors and ran into trouble because my house is not well built and nothing is level, plum, even or whatever. And that's particularly noticable when you lay down flooring. They did the best they could, got my approval for another large amount of money to grind down the concrete as needed and add cement to make it even. When they left at the end of the day, that's all that got done.  

Two new guys came Friday. Much better, according to Glenn, who kept a close eye on the proceedings. They completed the living room, but when they got to the kitchen and hallway, they realized they needed to remove the above boards and grind, sand, and add some more cement.  Not the best news, but what can you do? And this also gave me a chance to work on my ever lacking patience. Glenn is so good at it, the most patient human being I have ever known. 

It got too late last night, so they came this morning and added the cement where needed. But it was freezing in here, they had another job to go to. They said they could come back later today, but I suggested they come tomorrow morning instead. "You don't mind on a Sunday?" they asked. I said, "no, not if you don't." So now I'm tip-toeing around the cement to get to my coffeemaker, fridge, and so on. 

Ever cautious Faith, stepping gently, sniffing, sniffing, while ever hungry Samson sticks his head in a box, hoping for something to eat, no doubt. 

And here I am in my only unaffected room, which is my office/bedroom combination. Not knowing what to do with myself, I have so far cleaned out my email, cleaned up my computer, talked to Glenn and Mary on the phone, visited some blogs, taken these pictures and written these words. 

My closet door was open while I sat here and talked to Mary. It's a mess in there, plus my summer tops are still on their hangers and it's in a generally disorganized state. So I said to Mary, "I know what to do today, I will clean my closet!" 

So on that note I will leave you with a raven on a post, smoky sky in the background. Should I take before and after pictures of my closet too? 

Two things finally:

My heart goes out to the fire victims all over this state. Both Bakersfield and nearby Oildale had fires last week and many horses perished, so terrible I had to turn off the news. So terrible too for the people all around Northern California. I knew a wonderful woman, years ago, who lived in Santa Rosa. Haven't thought about her for years, but now I have. What a horrendeous year this has been.

Finally, as a breast cancer survivor, I can attest to the importance of early detection and the role that mammograms, while not perfect, can play in saving your life.

Samson Says: Can't help I'm hungry, it's those little pink pills you keep giving me. Don't think I don't know. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rust ~ Post No. 13

Another rusty treat from my friend Jane. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Notes From The Canyon

Once upon a long time ago, I used to post almost every day. Now it has been a whole month and hurricanes have moved on from the letter I for Irma in my last post, through J, K, L, and M, spreading more disaster, and now we're at N for Nate. And there's been another, worse than ever, mass shooting. And the president says we're in the Calm before the Storm.... 

Here in the canyon, life is trying to move from summer to fall. The nights are cool, in the 30s and 40s usually, but the days are still warm. It was a good summer for all critters, huge coveys of quail, hundreds of rabbits, large murders of ravens, coyote packs yodling at night, waking me up, dogs barking. 

It was also a great summer for wild sunflowers that lined the roads, the railroad tracks,  and in  places took over entire fields. And now the Rabbit Brush is in bloom and for a short while I will enjoy these bushes, as the fields turn yellow. 

For this past month, Glenn has been here early to beat the heat. Getting the house ready to be painted has involved a lot of noisy tools, sanders, hammers, and so on. After being with Errol, who never knew a house he couldn't improve upon, you would think I should be used to it. But no, I'm a morning person and all this noise has been difficult for me to deal with. Just an excuse for not posting to my blog. 

So this is to let you know that we are OK. Samson's liver values are better, one is within normal range, the other on the way down.  However, Samson's eyes continue to be problematic. Now his tearducts are blocked. After a week of two kinds of eyedrops five times a day, total, and placing a warm wash cloth over his eyes and nose and massaging his tearducts (or their proximity, I mean I don't really know what I'm doing, but read online to be careful as it is a sensitive area).

I took him back to the vet Friday. The warm wash cloths didn't work, so the vet tried to do their procedure and it didn't work either. "Like concrete in there," said he, which brought me to tears. Samson is so good, so kind, so patient, and I feel bad he has to go through all this on top of his steroid induced hunger and thirst. We were sent home with some special eyedrops to be applied twice a day, continuing his NeoPolyDex three times a day, as well as the warm wash cloths, but no massage, I don't think. We go back on Friday. 

Faith is fine. I haven't taken any pictues of the two of them for a while, so I'm posting landscapes instead. And I'm fine too. My hand is OK, just the arthritis pain now and that's not all that bad. Thanks for your concern about my falling. I have to do better on that, it is a bit scary. 

On Thursday, the flooring people are coming to install Pergo XP laminate floors (Highland hickory) in my living room, dining area, kitchen and hallway. I have taken all the books out of my bookcases, my china out of that cabinet, it's on the guest bed and all over the guest bedroom. 

With a whole month gone by, I have so much to tell you. I can see I will never get my perfect blog together. The one where I post a picture or two and just write a few lines, but often, almost every day. I so envy those of you who do that so well. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Thinking Of Everyone In Irma's Path And

all the people in Texas and Louisiana who now have to deal with the aftermath of Harvey's destruction. 

I was thinking about growing up in Sweden and how disasters like we have here never happened there. Sure there were forest fires and floods, but not the kind of fires we have here.

No hurricanes, no earthquakes, not even any really, really dangerous snakes. There's one, but I don't think you can die from its bite. 

There are snow storms and bad winter weather, summers where it rains all the time, but where it is neither hot nor humid like it can be here. 

But I regress, all I wanted to say to my blogger friends, Sandra, Janie Junebug, and Diane, as well as the rest of the people in the hurricane's path, I am thinking of you and feeling pretty helpless as this monster storm looks like it will just envelope your entire state. 

I have been absent from blogging because of the reno work on my house, and then I fell again, this time it was scary, but I'm fine now, except for my left hand. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rust ~ Post No.12

My friend Jane sent me this picture. What a marvellous old truck, I thought. Jane said this: 

Seen near Maroon Lake, in the shadow of the Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in Colorado. And I took a photo of a truck?

To which I say: Thanks Jane for thinking of me, you are becoming a regular contributor to my Rust posts and I love it! You don't often see a truck like this and I'm so glad you decided to stop and take its picture.

Rusty old things, particularly trucks, are growing on me as I'm posting them here. In a way I feel I'm honoring them. If that makes any sense. 

Finally, thank you for your comments on my Silver Linings post. I am feeling much better now. I said in my other post that I missed Errol when I got ill so suddenly, but everyone in my life stepped up, were concerned, and helped me. I didn't know all this at first, but I do now. So, to quote my blogger friend: Life Is Good!

Maroon Bells, Colorado 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Silver Linings

It's good to discover silver linings in difficult situations. When I was recovering from my kidney infection, I spent a wonderful day watching the goings on in my own backyard.

After that micro burst that blew the blinds straight into the room, Faith, who is a cautious dog, was worried, keeping an eye on the blinds while still staying with me in the bed. I felt bad for her so I pulled the blinds up. 

And a whole new world opened up in front of me. I was resting in bed that day, feeling better, but not well. With nothing much else to do, I decided to watch through the window. 

One day and one evening as darkness fell:

It was easy to watch the sky and there I saw only one raven the entire day, which is strange since there are so many of them here. 

From Images

Instead I saw a red-tailed hawk fly by overhead, four times. Either one hawk or two maybe, probably not four different ones. I also saw another, smaller hawk that I had seen before. It has a distinct almost square pattern on its belly and chest. Looking it up in my bird books, I realized that the next time I see it, I have to watch the tail. It will help me put it in the right hawk category at least. 

An old picture, but the coyote had a similar reddish coat, usually they are gray here.

Later, a large coyote, with a beautiful red tint to its coat, came strolling down the hill on one of the coyote trails. I know their trails well, they are so straight, nothing at all like the way dogs move around. 

Hearing the warning signals from their lookout squirrel, the ground squirrels dove into their holes as the coyote approached. I had kept an eye on one squirrel and he came back up soon thereafter and sat down in the shade of his juniper tree. I'm sure it was an old grandfather squirrel. He sat there for a long time, straight up, paws at his chest, and seemed to just enjoy his life, taking in the scenery the same way I was. I felt he kept me company that day. Yes, I know, it's so easy to project our feelings on what animals do, but still, it was lovely.

Some day I will get all I need to take better pictures and learn how to do it. I know I have a good eye, but I need the technical knowledge and the camera to go with it. I counted twelve little chicks here, there were many more in the covey behind this family.

Early evening, sun still high in the sky, I heard a clucking sound, and had to stretch my neck to see a covey of California quail move across my backyard. There were at least thirty small, small chickens in this covey. So adorable, I had to get up and try to get a picture. It didn't work very well as you can see. 

Same thing here, this Jack rabbit is just too far away. 

Then at dusk, the rabbits appeared. This has been a grand year for rabbits. I imagine all the rain we had made it so. At dawn and dusk, my road is covered in rabbits, darting from one side of the road to the other. Here in the canyon, we have two kinds: Audubon's cottontail rabbit, the small cute ones with the white round tail. And the much larger and not quite so cute black-tailed Jack rabbits. 

Cottontail Rabbit

Faith loves to go out in the dog yard at dusk to scare them and make them run. Usually, this only works with the tiny young ones. They soon learn that the dogs are fenced in and cannot harm them. When she is loose, she chases them up into the hills, but she never catches one. I bet she would have no idea what to do if she did. Samson is the hunter in the family.

As night came, I was looking forward to seeing stars. My bedroom faces north and there are no lights there, just wilderness. But there was a full moon that first night, so I got to see something else instead: Bats! I had forgotton how many bats live in the canyon. 

It was a fabulous day, a silver lining day, a day, where I once again found myself so grateful for the healing powers of nature. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Chose You, America

"To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family." ~ Buddha

Soon after Trump was elected, I sat at my black nephew-in-law's kitchen table with his two daughters, ages six and twelve. Somehow, the election came up and Kenny said he felt we should give Trump a chance. I believe that Jasmine, his eldest daughter, may have rolled her eyes at this suggestion. I immediately slammed my  hand on the table and said, "no way, the man is a racist." 

Kenny still insisted, as I thought later, probably for Jasmine's benefit, that we should be a bit more moderate while discussing this. I would have none of it. "Should Trump become one of our best presidents ever, I will not change my mind about his lack of a moral code," said I. 

The sad story of President Obama's birth certificate should be enough to convince anyone of that truth, but I also took some time to check up on Trump. I found out about the housing discrimination law suits that were settled without him admitting guilt. I read his comments about how he was protecting his white tenants from having to live with lower class, etc., etc., blacks. 

Then I saw clips from congressional hearings in the 1980s about the right to open casinos. This was the time Trump was into casinos and the hearings were about Indian tribes in New York state and Connecticut that he tried, without success, to discredit so they wouldn't be allowed to build casinos. I heard Trump say he was sure this Federally recognized Connecticut Indian tribe was way too dark-skinned to be Indian at all. I saw congressmen shaking their heads at Trump's comments, probably wishing they could have rolled their eyes as well. 

These things took place in the 1970s and 80s, but his questioning of Obama's birth place, which went on for years, was more current, and just as racist. 

So no doubt in my mind that day last winter. And I didn't even mention all the other issues with this man. Race was enough for me. Racism is the red line in the sand of my moral code.

So now, after his comments on the tragedy in Charlottesville, it's amazing to me how many still feel we should give the man a chance. I listened to Jerry Falwell, Jr. on a Sunday show today. Where was his moral compass, I wondered, as he said Trump was speaking his mind, something he felt was just so much better than Obama's political correctness. 

I wish I could have called in to remind him of President Obama, tearing up, as he sang Amazing Grace at the funeral for victims of that Bible class slaughter.

But, of course, reminding him would not have mattered in the least. 

I don't know why I wrote this. I probably didn't do a very good job, but I felt I had to say something......

I really love this country. I love it because of it's people. And I know for sure that there's no way the people of America will allow our country to regress and slide backwards. I chose you, America, and I'm so glad I did.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Longer Blogging Break, Maybe

Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm feeling much better and had planned to get back to blogging by this coming weekend. But Glenn is putting up siding on the west side of the house and will need to unhook all the computer cords and stuff around there, so depending on how that goes, my computer may not work for a while. 

If all goes well with it, I will be seeing you this weekend. 

About the construction around here, this is where we are:

I realized the other day that I will need some concrete in the dogrun, Just a part of it, closest to the house, before I have my new floors installed. The dogs drag in so much dirt and some concrete to run around on would help a lot. Mary knows of something you can attach to it that will help even more. A guy, who lives down the road here in the canyon, was recommended by friends and will come by tomorrow to give an estimate. 

Yesterday, we went to Home Depot for the additional siding and found out that they are having a sale on the installation of flooring from now until the end of September. So next time we go there, I will make arrangements to have someone come and give an estimate for my new floors. 

I'm planning to clean and oil the kitchen cabinets myself and I'm finally finished cleaning the inside of all the lower drawers and cabinets. They are huge and old and I love them, there are four with Lazy Susans, and, after getting rid of a lot of stuff, there is no way I can fill them up. I'm also going to sand and (maybe paint or Glenn will) the moldings and other things where paint is peeling. Even bought some sand paper yesterday. 

So lots going on. The weather has cooled down some and night temps are back in the 40s and I wake up really cold, but it is lovely. Samson is a happy dog and that's basically the most important thing for me right now. He is doing really well.

Monday, August 7, 2017

"Under The Weather"

This is supposed to be the desert mountains and we've had weather much like I remember from New Jersey. There it was just called hot and humid, here, for some reason, it is called a Monsoon! We got some rain, even something I think may be called a microburst. Last week, the wind came down with tremendeous force from the north, my windows were open and the wind blew in not only rain, but sand and mud; blinds blew straight out into the room.  It only lasted a few seconds, but it scared both dogs and me. Faith wouldn't come in the bedroom for a long while. Bathroom window was also open and the toilet was full of mud. Of course, I had just washed the windows the week before. Seriously!

Earlier, as I sat on the couch, I looked up and there was the face of the sweet Guernsey bull looking in my open window! Quite a surprise. I love the cow peeking out from behind my old van that I have given to my BIL. They belong to my neighbor, Joyce. More about them and all her critters in future posts.

I had plans to come back to blogging last week, but life had other plans. On Wednesday, after successfully seeing both my diabetes crew in Bakersfield and my PCP doctor up here, I began to feel terrible. By Thursday, my temperature was climbing up over 103 and my doctor told me I had to go to emergency. When I was married, I so took for granted that Errol would be there and take me, as I would him. I probably didn't appreciate that enough, it was just part of the married deal, we had each other's backs as couples do. 

My nephew-in-law took me. He was on vacation and stopped on the way to buy a lot of food and water. All that water was good as I have a kidney infection. We were in the ER for four hours. Kenny is a wonderful man, so patient. He taught me some things on my cell phone while we waited. 

Samson Says: OK, you big old cows get off my property or I'll come and get you!

I got intravenous antibiotics and was properly hydrated before they let me leave. But everyone was very kind, so it was an OK visit. It was after 10 pm when we got back here and how fun it was to drive down my road in the dark. Nightlife in the canyon is as much fun as that in the big city. Many rabbits and little mice darting about, bats flying around, all kinds of exitement going on. 

I just wanted to let you know why I haven't posted, haven't even opened my computer for a week and probably won't do it again for a few days. Take care, and when I get better I have some fabulous rusty old trucks to post, courtesy of my friend Jane who took a trip to Colorado and found them by the side of country roads, thought of my rust posts, and sent them to me. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rust ~ Post No. 11

OK, so who else do you know that has three huge diesel engines sitting in their field? Rusting away. They should have been sold a long time ago, now they are either scrap metal or rust sculptures. 

I have been thinking that I just don't have time to blog right now. I'm on a mission to clean up outside around here, to walk the dogs and myself in the mornings, to clean out the two lower kitchen corner cabinets that may contain who knows what, from mice poop to Errol's dusty gumbo pots. All other drawers and cabinets are done. Clean! Next I want to clean the outside of the cabinets, so they will be done when I get my new floors installed. Buy some new hardware for them.

I still haven't changed out my closets from winter to summer clothes, I just stuff my summer tops in there and, of course, I wear jeans year round so that's not a problem. I also haven't put together my new vacuum cleaner that I broke and may have fixed. It needs to be put together before I will know if it works. "Ack," as we say in Swedish! 

I so like to be organized.

Then I read your comments on the post before this one. And for some reason, I teared up. Actually, I know why, because you are my friends now. Those of you who leave a comment because you care. It's very different from blogging to get as many followers and as many comments as one can. In the beginning, I thought that being a popular blogger was important. This is something quite different and much more precious. 

As I wrote this, I felt that I had written it before, not too long ago. Old age is so funny, things come and go in one's mind and one can never be sure if one is repeating oneself. But then, nice things cannot be said too often. 

So I will blog and keep in touch with you.

And Jean, on the secret: She may be having surgery, so this would be such a perfect surprise. Thank you so much. I will email you in the next few days. 

Next week is a busy week for me with doctors' appointments, one in Bakersfield, one up here. After that, I will make up for lost time. I hope all of you are well and thanks for your patience with me and my erratic blogging. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

We Are OK, Just Hot And Tired

Faith tries on her pitbull look. Can you see it?

So my Los Angeles house is sold! Escrow closed last Wednesday, the 19th. You know how it is when you have been tense and worried for a long time and then when everything works out just great, you get so darned tired you can't lift a finger or compose a simple sentence. That's how I feel right now. But I will try a little here:

This chest of drawers was left behind when Errol moved up here in 2011. I was determined to get it. You can see how big it is, made out of wood, so very heavy. My neighbor, Joyce, who has a big Acura, offered to drive me to Los Angeles where the realtors had stored it at their house. 

 I love this carving. The chest fits so well in my house here.

So last Tuesday, Joyce and I drove to her parents' house in a very cute section of Los Angeles, where we were treated to lunch. The realtors, a married couple, live in my old neighborhood, so on the way there we passed many old landmarks, as well as some new ones. I had heard that they are building the subway under Wilshire Boulevard, with a station right up the street from my old house. And there is was, a big construction zone mess! Of course we went by the house too, so I could say good bye and show it to Joyce. We just drove by, didn't stop. The realtor sign said "Sold." Another passage in my life, I thought and felt a little sad. Just a little....

Wagon wheel knobs!

The chest just about fit in the Acura. We were both very tired and stopped at a Starbucks in the San Fernando Valley on our way home. The following day, as I was taking a nap, Joe, the realtor, called and told me we had closed. And since then I have been just so tired. And excited, and tired, and back and forth. 

Faith back to her Lab smile again. She's a great retriever, but she doesn't like water. And she sheds like any good Lab would. Because I broke my new vacuum cleaner, the carpet is sooo dirty with her shed fur. I have cleaned it since, promise!!

Selling the house cost me a lot of money so it would not have been a good thing if something had gone wrong. But it didn't, the buyers fell in love at the first open house, offered above asking, which I accepted, and after a 30-day escrow with no hassles or hangups, we closed. I'm so grateful for how well it all went.

Hot Samson on his cool slate floor. He loves it, but I now find him in the air-conditioned room more often than not. So he has figured out that it feels nice and cool in there. And the nights are cooler now, in the 40s, which is wonderful.

Samson is doing better. The new dry food, called Wellness, that the vet recommended, seems to work. His eyes are doing well. We see the vet on Monday, when Samson will have a blood test to determine how his liver is doing and also have his eyes checked. I'll bring a stool sample too, just to make sure there's no more blood. For the past month, he has been on just a half Prednisone every other day. I feel hopeful. 

I plan to be back to blogging again soon. Hope you are all doing well. Have a nice rest of the weekend.

Friday, July 7, 2017



I love this picture of puppy Samson so intent on what Angel has to say. It is one of my absolute favorite pictures.

I posted these pictures last year, together with a really cute current one of Samson, fresh from the groomers. I don't have any current pictures of him, but I want to let you know that he is doing so much better. We walk early every morning, almost. If I look like I want to skip, he asks for his walk and, I, of course, can't say no. 

He was such a cute puppy and has been the best of dogs. Not exactly the best trained, he rarely does what he is told, but tell him he needs to go outside to guard me and he's on it. He truly knows what he has to do, when and how, to benefit us all the most. 

This is another favorite. Hanging with the big guys!

He still has serious stomach issues, going back on his regular food didn't work. I ordered digestive soft food from Amazon at $15.00 less than what I paid at the vet. 

We see the vet two weeks from Monday for a blood test to check his liver and for an eye check. I plan to have my questions ready both about the steroid-induced Cushing's disease and his terrible stomach issues. Good news: He has now been on 1/2 a Prednisone pill every other day for almost two weeks and his eyes still look really good. So that's wonderful. 

Happy Birthday, Sweet Samson from Mommy and Faith


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