Saturday, June 17, 2017

Celebrating Away!!

The older I get, the more I love having a birthday. Probably a very natural reaction to growing old. While I don't feel bad about the ageing process, it's just so nice to be around for another birthday. 

UPS has been here with a package from Judy, thank you my sweet friend. USPS came with a very exclusive and gorgeous gift from my friend Rosemary, thank you so much. I will treasure it. And, thanks to me, who never minded buying gifts for myself, Amazon came through, as well, with a movie that I have wanted to watch and own. 

And when Rachael came up yesterday for a little bit of shopping at our favorite consignment store, followed by a nice dinner, I was just so happy. I even agreed to let the waiter know it was my birthday celebration. What's not to love about a crew of handsome dudes, and great singers too, celebrating with me, singing for me? It was even worth the happy hat!  A bit embarrassing, but still.....

Happy to be 

Which I will be at the Summer Solstice, June 21st. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rust ~ Post No. 10 (And A Few More Things)

Rusty yard art found at my friends' house.

I have a fair amount of stuff to decorate my yard with as well, but first I want to clean up the place as best I can. The tractor guy was here yesterday, grading my front and backyards. I'm not sure it's called grading, he got rid of the weeds he cut last month, using that part of the tractor. What do I know about tractors? City woman moving to the country, that's me. There used to be a TV show about that, Green Acres, I think it was called. A long, long time ago. What I do know is that my front and backyards are now just dirt. I'm so glad I don't have to rake weeds like I did last summer. 

 How I spent my summer in 2016.

While it was good for me to be out there, for weeks on end, raking and building up my strength, this year, I have other things on my mind. There's still a lot of junk and other stuff out on the land. Most of it from previous owners. But some that I'm responsible for as well.

Closeup of last summer's weeds.

The tractor guy asked if he could take some of my scrap metal in payment for his help. I was really happy at the prospect of getting rid of some more stuff, so I said OK, take whatever you want. Except, I said, for these, and showed him the items I want to keep for yard ornaments. While he liked the idea of rusty yard art, he thought his wife would not be too happy about all the stuff he was bringing home. I told him I knew the feeling, having had a husband who couldn't say no to anything either. 

I am happily discovering how many people there are in this world who cannot say NO to stuff! 

Finally, fluffmonster Samson went to the groomers yesterday. It took over three hours because he hasn't been there for a long while. I visited my BIL Glenn and his wife, while I waited. And I stopped by Jiffy Lube to ask them to get rid of a lot of corrosion from my battery. Which they did, so that's good. 

White as the driven snow, I tell my boy. Wish it would snow some, says he. At least he has his tummy shaved now and most of the undercoat gone, and his pants, or whatever the fur on his legs is called, cut way back. 

He couldn't jump in the jeep, so the tractor guy helped. I notice a weakness in his legs, much like mine, getting up is becoming harder. So we will walk more and eat less. And tomorrow his Prednisone will be reduced from two pills to one pill per day, half in the morning, half in the evening. I hope that will make him feel better. 

Home from our walk, we lie down on the cool tile and take a long, long snooze. Ah, it's a dog's life, after all.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Dear Friend Comes To Visit

A while back, my friend Judy came to visit. I love this woman, she's one of my very best friends. 

I will definitely make sure to see more of her in the future than I have in the past several years. She's only an hour and a half away, so with my new tires I really have no excuses. 

Here we are, waiting for our food at the Village Grille. This place serves a very good breakfast, so good, even I can't resist the bacon. (I normally don't eat meat, just fish.)

This is the main street, the one I drive on every time I go to town. And I never noticed the massive rust on the roof of the old apple shed across the street. I asked Judy to pose, so this post will include some rust as well. 

After lunch, I wanted to show Judy a part of town she hadn't seen before. Of course, we had to explore a few stores. The consignment shop that Mary, Rachael, and I really like is under new ownership. A young woman with the most adorable little, one year (plus?) old, daughter now owns it. The little girl greeted each of us at the door with a hug, a good knee hug. So cute!

Judy tries on a leather jacket that she ended up not buying. But she did get the nice blouse that you can barely see under the jacket.

And I bought this bracelet to go with the rock I bought in Ojai. A great find that fits my arm really well.

Before we left for town, I asked Judy to take my picture with the Vera Bradley bag my friend Rosemary sent me last year. I then forwarded the picture to Rosemary. I want her to know how much I enjoy ALL the bags she sent me.  

The office of the attorney, who did my living trust, is located across this alley way. Just far enough for these murals to look real. It's amazing how real they look! 

I got a good laugh, a while back, when I asked the ladies in the crochet group if the shoe repair shop was ever open! That's how real it looked to me from across the way. As it turned out, most of the ladies had made the same mistake, one even knocking on the door before she realized what was going on. Whatever happened to shoe repair shops anyway? 

Next door to my attorney's office, a new shop has recently opened. It sells restored furniture and materials to use for this purpose. I also think there are classes. Anyhow, the furniture for sale was gorgeous, I wanted it all. A shop I will definitely visit again. I guess I was so in awe that I forgot to take pictures. Oh, well, I did get old Avelino Martinez without a car parked in front of him at least. Not an easy feat, as our town is growing fast, and with it the traffic. 

This man was quite a character in his day. I don't know if you can enlarge the picture to read what it says, so this is a short version. He came here at the age of thirteen, four feet tall, searching for his father. Later he worked as a horse groom for one of the outlaw Joaquin Murrieta's four horse gangs. Members would capture wild horses and then drive them back to Sonora, Mexico where rich ranchers would buy the horses. 

After Murrieta's gangs were captured, Martinez worked at Rancho El Tejon and later for E. J. Cummings of Cummings Ranch, here in Tehachapi. Avelino Martinez died in 1936, at a reported age of 112. He is buried in our old cemetery, where he lies north to south, rather than facing east, as is customary.

I want to visit that cemetery, I know it must be an interesting place. The original settlers of our valley are buried there and their histories with them. I know I would like to read the words on their gravestones and imagine the people and the lives they lived. 

Judy and I had a really fun day and I'm so grateful to have good friends like her in my life. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rachael's Band Gives A Summer Concert In The Park

On Saturday, Mary and I set out for William S. Hart park, the place where Rachael works, and where she and BaCoRaDo, the band she performs with, were giving a summer concert. 

I had never heard Rachael perform with this band nor had I heard her on the drums. Music is one of the most important aspects of Rachael's life and it was so much fun to see this side of her. She sang beautifully. I wanted to capture some of it on my phone, but since I never use the video, I messed it up a bit.

The first part came out great on my phone, but the file was too large to upload. The second part didn't save. I have no idea why. I learned a lot from this, and will practise using the video so I can use it properly in the future. The dogs should be good, never boring, subjects. 

Here are some pictures of people enjoying the music. Doesn't the grass look incredible?  The lawns were full of clover and clover blossoms, tiny white ones. I haven't seen anything like it since I was in Sweden last. Just a lovely, lovely place. 

The park was donated to Los Angeles County by William S. Hart, who was a cowboy actor in the early days of film. He built his home here, surrounded by many acres with gorgeous views.

Mary and I enjoyed the variety of the music: classic rock, some blues, some country, and original songs written by the two guys in the band - two very talented men. I loved the women singing, the guys singing, and also all four of them singing harmonies. I'm so sorry I didn't capture more on my phone, but lesson learned.  

Mary and I didn't see the alpacas or any of the barnyard animals. We will save that for another, hopefully, cooler day when Rachael can give us a tour. At that time, we'll also check out the Hart's home, which is a museum now. Since he was a cowboy star, I know Mary will enjoy the tour a lot. She really likes her cowboys.

I met a few of Rachael's friends that I hadn't seen since our donkey rescue days, about 10 years ago. And my friend Carole from UCLA came by also. It was great to see her again. Both Mary and I enjoyed the music and the pretty surroundings. It was so relaxing and just so nice.  Rachael and the band were really good. I hope they will do this again, it was a lot of fun. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Celebrating Sweden

The following is an edited re-post from last year: 

Today, Swedes are celebrating the National Day of Sweden, which commemorates the election of Gustav Vasa as King of Sweden on June 6, 1523.

Last year, someone asked if kings were elected in Sweden. No, they are not now, but at that time Sweden was under the rule of a Danish king. Gustav Vasa led the revolution against this king, Christian II of Denmark, and his victories resulted in the end of the Danish-ruled Kalmar Union, which comprised Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. King Gustav established the foundation of Sweden, as we know it today, including a hereditary monarchy.

When no heir existed, other solutions were sought. In the early 1800s, King Karl XIII was old and without heirs, so Sweden elected (or selected, not sure) Napoleon's Marshal of France, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who first acted as regent and then became King Karl XIV Johan of Sweden when the old king died in 1818. The current king is a Bernadotte also, so the hereditary monarchy has continued since the French revolution gave Sweden their famous marshal, some 200 years ago. 

I added the above paragraph this year, just to get you up-to-date on a little bit of the history of the hereditary monarchy in Sweden. 

To honor my hometown of Stockholm, I thought today would be a good day to share some pictures from my last trip back in 2005. If you saw them last year, I hope you don't mind seeing them again. 

The narrowest street in Old Town Stockholm.

Priest Street with a red bicycle ~ Old Town.

 Tetley Tea House  

I spent many hours here, drank many cups of tea, met fascinating people from all over the world.  A long time ago.

The original city of Stockholm is built on 14 islands. A city surrounded by water, with a large number of green spaces makes for quite a lovely place to live. 

A June night in Stockholm with the tall tower of City Hall in center left, and the spires of the churches in Old Town to the right. This picture was taken around 10 p.m.

I was baptized in the church up on the cliffs, Katarina Church.

The Royal Palace.

The pink building is the Grand Hotel. The water here is very turbulent and fishermen use boats with large nets attached, like the one in the foreground.  The current is so strong, you may think it must be difficult to control the boat and catch fish at the same time, but these traditional boats have been around for a long, long time and are manned by skilled fishermen. And there's plenty of fish in the clean waters of mid-city Stockholm.

The rear of the Royal Opera House.

King Karl XII, a badass (read that online, so it must be true) king of Sweden, pointing East toward Russia.

One of my favorite pictures from my visit in 2005. 

Modern transportation. 

And the old fashioned kind. 

And there I am, 12 years ago now. I will not be going back again. There's no way I could cope with airport lines, long flights, delays, and all that any longer. It's OK, I'm not sad or sentimental about it, it's just something I don't want to do because I feel it would be too much for me, physically.

Which brings this to mind:

I have been thinking about what it means to be an emigrant. And to be an immigrant. And to become an American by choice. And to be an American in the times of, well, you know the present....

I may write about it.

Here on my blog.

Hope you enjoyed my Stockholm pictures. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thinking Of You In The UK

As I'm sure it was for everyone, it was very upsetting for me to wake up to yet another act of terrorism in the UK. 

Or more accurately, I should say, to an act of terrorism anywhere. 

Which made me wonder why I don't post something when Coptic Christians in Egypt get killed, so many of them; or the airport in Istanbul gets hit by terrorists. I think of those people also, and to no lesser extent, so I wonder. 

Is it perhaps because three cities, Stockholm, London, and Los Angeles have been such large parts of my life? Have helped to make me who I am today. I feel I know these cities, for good, for bad, for better and for worse. I have loved these three cities, they have, in their very different ways, each been a strong influence on my life. 

I know Westminster Bridge, I know London Bridge and, while it may have been over 50 years ago, you don't forget your young life. You don't forget the city that helped you through school, helped you grow up, where you met the first great love of your life. Where you demonstrated against apartheid, where you marched with those who sought to Ban the Bomb, the nuclear bomb. Where you saw the now internationally accepted peace sign for the first time, and so on. London is special in my memories. 

However, and of course, the horrible taking of human life affects me equally, as I'm sure it does all sane and normal persons. 

(Which could lead me to the comments via twitter of our nation's head, politicising yet another horrific event so as to advance his own political agenda. But I will not.)

Instead, I will think of the vicar's family I worked for in Lee Green, Kent, a suburb of London. Their children, grown now, with families of their own, I imagine. I will think of Elizabeth, the Polish refugee, whose family I lived with in Ealing Common, while going to school and looking after little Kai, the cutest 2-year old you ever saw. Learning to boil an egg (not kidding) and saying "thank you" in Polish. Hoping they are all well, even if it means looking over their shoulders, not in terror, but in caution. 

And the same thoughts go out to all my blogger friends in the British Isles. I love you guys and I am thinking of you. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Samson ~ An Update

Those of you who read my blog back in 2012, may remember that Samson went blind for a day or two, but thanks to the quick action by our vet he recovered his sight fully. Then it happened again this past March. Fortunately, I recognized the symptoms and took him to the vet, who prescribed Prednisone, plus an increase in the NeoPolyDex eyedrops I have been giving him since 2012, from twice a day to four times a day. 

Samson did well for a period of time this spring, but last week I took him to the vet again because his eyes did not look good. Once again, he was put on Prednisone, at a higher dose, for a longer period than before. I took him back on Wednesday and he has responded well to the medicine. The vet thinks he may have to stay on a low dose for the rest of his life.

I discussed side effects with the doctor and learned that there is risk for liver, kidney and heart failure. Now our vet is very much into holistic healing, acupuncture, and so on. When my German shepherd, Angel, got lupus, he had no problems with me getting, I forget what now, from a holistic place that treats dogs. Apparently nothing else will work for Samson's illness though. 

So then I said, OK, so what if he goes blind? Lots of dogs do as they get older and seem to get along just fine. Not so with this illness, said the vet. He believes that there's severe pain accompanying the eye issues and eventual blindness. That devastated me and I felt so guilty for every time in the past that I may have forgotten to give him his eyedrops or been too busy or whatever. 

But then, if this is the reality, I say to myself, let's just take it a day at a time. And hope he will do well on a very tiny amount of Prednisone.

So, I am grateful that Samson is doing better. We will take it a day at a time, be diligent with the eyedrops and his walks to keep him as healthy as he can be. Because the drugs supress his immune system, Samson didn't get the rattlesnake vaccine this year. Since he doesn't run loose, I'm not too worried. I haven't seen any snakes at all this spring, and this is the time they are most visible. When it gets hot, they become nocturnal, to show up again at the end of September. 

Samson in 2012. His eyes are clouded blue here. They are brown normally.

Samson was diagnosed with UDS in 2012, something he will have for the rest of his life. 

He did well, with no eye problems for 4 1/2 years. Something to be grateful for since he was so young when this started.

This is UDS:

Uveodermatologic Syndrome (UDS) is an immune-mediated canine disease characterized by inflammation of the eye, de-pigmentation of skin and whitening of hair, well, white fur wasn't a clue here. Morbidity is related primarily to the eye inflammation, which can result in secondary ophthalmological disorders that lead to blindness. Treatment involves both topical and systemic immunosuppression.

Although generally considered to be more common in Northern breeds, such as Akitas, Siberians, and Samoyeds, there have been reports of the disease in a wide range of breeds, including the Dachshund. 

Samson Says: Have a nice day everyone!

Faith Says: What about me? Did you tell your friends Samson beat me up? 

Me: No, that will be in another post.

Faith: What's a post?

Me: Never mind.....


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