Monday, January 31, 2011

An Award and Many Links.

First let me welcome four new followers of Desert Canyon Living, an international group of people, I'm happy say: Cathy from AustraliaCarmen and Alfonso from SpainCatherine from France, and Ed and Mona from the Philippines. I have enjoyed reading Ed and Mona's blog about dogs for a while and I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you.

I got this Stylish Blogger Award from my friend Hopeful whose blog I always enjoy reading. Thank you so much for this fabulous award!

I happily accept the award and in order to do so, I have to first link back to the person who gave me the award, which I did above. Then I must tell you seven things about myself that you may not know. I picked some less serious things and here they are:

  1. I recently read that Kim of Golden Pines is 6 ft tall. Great I thought, a fellow tall woman. I was once 6 feet tall, as well, now I think I'm about five eleven and a half. We do shrink, so it's good to be ahead of the game.
  1. I now live in the desert mountains of California, but I love the ocean and all waters. My husband and I sailed for many years and had a boat in Marina del Rey, California.
  1. I love my dogs and dogs in general, but I have a great admiration for cats. I like that they are so easy to live with and I love their calming nature as they snuggle and purr on your lap, your chest, or wherever they decide they want to be. I have lived with many cats, Sindbad was my last. He died in 2006 at the age of 18.
  1. My favorite sport as a young person was speed skating and I was pretty good at it. I also liked to ride horses.
  1. Donkeys are my favorite animals. I have never met an animal so smart, so kind, so fun, so loving, so protective, and on and on. 
  1. While I don't love to cook and I don't have that magic touch, I can make some pretty good meals, as evidenced by the chicken I so bragged about a couple of blog posts away.
  1. I love to play Scrabble, other games, solve crosswords, puzzles, and quizzes.
Now I'm supposed to share this award with 15 bloggers. What a difficult task. I decided to forward it to a few new blogger friends and some older ones that I believe I never shared an award with earlier. Some of you may have already received this award, if so just take mine without following all the above directions:


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

"Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Use For an Old Chest of Drawers -- and Follower Number 100!

A HUGE and warm welcome to Sheryl, follower number 100! Sheryl has an interesting blog that you can check out at: 

I've decided to start linking to the blogs of my new followers as I welcome them. I will post something about this and the importance of providing a link as you sign up to follow a blog soon. 

This little chest was left over after my husband moved his stuff to the larger one he brought up here last weekend. The guys left it in the hall where it was in the way, so I dragged it around the corner and put it in the hall by the front door. I think it's good to have a chest close to the front door and it fit perfectly.

We had a ton of CDs and not quite so many DVDs in boxes that sat by the old TV. I never liked the arrangement, but the house is small and I had nowhere else. So I had an idea: Stick them in the now empty drawers in this chest. And, as you can see, they fit. So I have two drawers of CDs in the front and DVDs in the back. 

Then I put this bowl on top. The red matches other red things I have in our living room. And it also matches the unusual color of our living room walls. 

This mirror hangs on top of the chest of drawers. It's a very special mirror, made by an artist friend. It deserves a tribute of its own in one of my Tuesday's Treasures post and I will tell the story of the mirror there soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Canyon Rocks, Books, Friends, Gratitude, and More

I couldn't post to my blog yesterday and after spending a couple of hours trying, I gave up. It was my friend Rachael's birthday, so a belated Happy Birthday to you, Rachael. 

I also wanted to welcome two new followers to my blog: Silent Reader and T. M. Kamson. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

Finally: Thank you all so much for your fun comments about my husband's move and my chicken dinner. I loved them all!

As I looked outside this morning, spring fever overtook my senses and never mind all the work waiting for me in the house, I had to get outside. When it was Angel's turn to walk, I took the camera. We didn't go rock hunting; we just went for a lazy walk and took pictures of whatever we encountered. We saw many, many Western Scrub Jays, but they were too quick for my camera. The rocks, of course, were easier targets. 

It's really what grows on the rocks that's the most interesting.

A raven flew above, calling: croak, croak, croak.

A book from Sweden landed in my mailbox the other day. A gift from my friends Inga and Christina. 

The book was a surprise and they have no idea how thrilled I am to get it. The story takes place in Estonia, a country I have yet to read about, as far as I can remember. The book got very good reviews in Europe and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you both for this surprise!

Yesterday, I took out all the books I got from my friends lately and was astounded by their number. When I was injured and unable to drive, I felt it was very thoughtful of my friends to send books. They know books sort of keep me going, keep my stress in check, and so on. But now that I am fine, I'm just overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity.

My goat of a dog. Angel loves three things: To run, to sniff, and to climb. She is not much for food, treats, or petting. She also loves to look after me and guard the house and all of us in it.

Another raven flies by.

Sniff, sniff, who's been here? What are those stripes in the rock, I wonder. That's me, not Angel wondering about the stripes. She probably just wonders who went here or what kind of critter left this smell.

Back to yesterday, I decided to take pictures of all the books, post them on my blog, and thank my friends for their generosity that way. Well, everything got messed up. Most of the photos came out sideways and I have yet to find out if there is any way in Blogger to turn a photo clockwise. And Word, where I had my text, froze repeatedly. I turned the computer on and off, but nothing helped. All these messages…No -- I really didn't want an Error Report; I just wanted it to work!!! So frustrating!

So, Jane, Rachael, Judy, Inga and Christina – if you read this, as I hope you will: Thank you so much for all the wonderful books you have sent me recently. 

I also want to thank my friend Carol for always thinking of me with a gift subscription to a magazine when one is offered. 

The TV that arrived from the LA house has not yet been hooked up, so right now I can't even watch DVDs. With nothing to watch, I find myself going through the books so much faster. In the last few days, I have finished a light-hearted and fun book from East Africa --  Kenya to be specific, and I have almost finished Zeitoun, a book that is blowing my mind. More about them later. 

A cactus without thorns, growing in the cold and frost we have here at night.

Angel is enjoying her morning. I think I'm recovered now and back to our morning walks.  This was just wonderful – I feel so much more alive and invigorated.

The last rock with some very pretty lichen growing on it.

According to this book, The Law's Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, that I gave myself for Christmas, lichens are indicators of air quality and their diversity and abundance are being monitored to help assess the impact of smog on Sierra ecosystems. According to our local naturalist, this is the book that has the information that best matches the flora and fauna of the Tehachapis. I have a lot to learn…..

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lots of Stuff Arrived - A Move Update

Part one of my husband's move is over. It took my husband, his brother and nephew most of Saturday to load the truck. They arrived late, around 5:00 p.m. 

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know I don't cook much because my husband both loves to cook and is a fabulous cook. But I had to feed these hardworking guys so I baked a chicken stuffed with garlic, onions, and rosemary from our garden that I served with brown rice and a salad mixture of baby spinach and romaine lettuce. A great combination, as it turned out. Well, the chicken came out so good that my husband said it tasted better than the last 30 chickens he cooked, which was best compliment for me and signaled the return of my cooking confidence.

I was happy to see the big truck.

All the old computers, TVs, and things like that were put in one shed to be sorted out and dumped later. I hope! I like this old washing machine. It sat in our Los Angeles garden for the longest time without ever being cleaned up. We'll see if it becomes a project here -- or not 

I was surprised to see how many fishing rods we own. We used to have a sailboat and we went fishing in the Pacific ocean a lot in the old days. I will never forget those barracudas! My father-in-law used to take his sons fishing all over the place when they were growing up. There is a lake in this area and we are not far from Lake Isabella, but they are probably crowded with people. It would be fun to find a little mountain lake with few people around and try our luck at trout fishing again. 

The unloading took all day Sunday. My niece came with them from town and kept me company while the guys worked. It was a lot of work that needed to get done in a very short time. 

We were all tired by the time they got to the big things that went in the house, so tempers flared a bit, no pictures were taken, but it all worked out in the end. We ended the day with a delicious fish dinner, cooked by my hubby, with some of my now famous chicken added, a big fire in the fire place, some wine and relaxation. I now have my big refrigerator and a separate freezer in my tiny kitchen. There's a different TV in the living room and a beautiful huge 1930s-40s style dresser in the bedroom. This entire room where I sit at my computer, and where the office files and guest bed are located, is full of stuff – some of it will need a home, some will burn in the fireplace, and some will go to the dump. Good thing I like big projects!

The guys went back to Los Angeles yesterday. I'm really happy it went so well and that the weather was perfect: Sunshine, but neither hot nor cold! A few weeks ago that truck wouldn't have made it up our road because of the all the water and mud from the rains we had earlier.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Samson Posts a Photo Essay

This was going to be a silent post, but then I got so many nice comments and well-wishes for me and my husband that I just simply had to thank you all so much. I love your comments -- they mean so much to me and will continue to be a meaningful part of my life even with hubby here to keep me company. He may actually be in Los Angeles on and off working, because that's where his contacts are, but he will for sure be here a lot more than in the past. 

Then I want to welcome three new followers to my blog: Negerigeletschtempoit, Changes in the Wind, and Nordis. I'm looking forward to getting to know you through your blogs.  

Finally, if you don't see my comments on your blogs for the next few days, you know I am busy trying to find room in this little house for all this stuff that I expect will show up tomorrow.


Samson Says:

Posted by Samson the Samoyed Pup

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today and a Big Change is Gonna Come Saturday -- Hopefully!

I wasn't going to write anything this morning, but I woke up early and am feeling great, so here it goes:

This morning I'm going to a meeting of the Diabetes Support Group in town. It's run on a volunteer basis by a woman named Eve. Eve is my age, she is a brilliant woman who used to own a pharmacy in town. Then she decided to become a diabetes educator and after that a writer of mystery novels. As a diabetes educator, she travels all over the county, teaching people with type 1 diabetes, like me, how to use an insulin pump. She also travels all over the country to attend the various medical meetings related to diabetes. The meetings are either scientific and from those she brings us the latest news in diabetes research. Or the meetings cover all the latest supplies and gadgets to help us manage our disease, in which case she returns to our small town with a ton of information and all the latest news. She frequently invites guest speakers to our meetings, always interesting people that you will learn from. So the meetings are mostly informative, not so much a place where we talk about our problems with diabetes management, although we always get some of that in as well.  The group meetings, thanks to Eve's efforts, are remarkable. We live in a small town here -- I went to meetings like this at UCLA and they were nowhere close to being this good. I have missed so many meetings this year that I'm really looking forward to going today. I'll take my camera and see if I can come up with a blog post about it.

I'm sharing some photos of Soldier as I write this post. I feel he has been a bit overshadowed by the cuteness and blogging capabilities of Samson and the wisdom of my Angel lately. I wrote post about him here, so he has been featured before.

This is my favorite photo of Soldier. I think I have it edited somewhere with feet and organ pedals removed.

Soldier dancing for his supper.

Best friends.

Busted on the couch. Does he look guilty or what?

No one sleeps like Soldier.

He is my 77 lb lapdog and my snuggle bunches. When I kiss his ears, he burps with pleasure. What a funny dog he is.

My dentist is still sick, so today's appointment was rescheduled for next Thursday. I will skip visiting my niece today and maybe go over there on Monday, after my chiropractor appointment. You see, I have gotten very busy here at home, because on Saturday -- if all goes as planned -- my husband is coming up, with a bunch of guys to help, and a U-haul truck full of appliances and furniture from our Los Angeles house that has finally been rented. It took my husband so long to decide to rent it, but now the decision has been made, tenants have been found, and it is time to jump out into a new kind of life. I have no idea what will happen. My husband is younger than I by more than six years, so he's not eligible for full social security for another year and a half. He definitely wants to work, but all his work contacts are in Los Angeles, so we will see what happens. Maybe we can find a new way to make some money. We are a perfect team really: He is the entrepreneur and I am the background person with accounting and writing skills. You know I'll keep you updated on this exciting time in my life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday's Book

Welcome to a new follower of my blog: mithilesh cheliyan  

My Sister Tommie
The Real Tammi Terrell
by Ludie Montgomery & Vickie Wright

In the mid 1960s and early '70s, Motown Records produced great music, creating what came to be known as the Motown Sound. At the time, I didn't listen much to the Motown groups, but there were two young singers and a song coming from Motown that I loved: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and the hit Your Precious Love. When Tammi and Marvin teamed up for their far too short-lived partnership, they created some beautiful music -- among the best from that era.

Tammi died of a brain tumor in 1970, at the age of 24. I remember it was such a shock, and as always when a young person dies, it seemed so unfair.

Rachael asked me last summer if I knew who Tammi Terrell was. I told her I did, and that I still have some of her duets with Marvin Gaye among my vinyl treasures. Rachael then told me that her friend, Sylvia, has written a screenplay about Tammi's life, based on a biography, co-authored by a friend of theirs. When she came to visit next, Rachael gave me the book, My Sister Tommie, by Tammi's sister Ludie Montgomery and Vickie Wright. Vickie wrote this note in the front of the book: "Thank you for loving Tammi // Ain't no mountain high enough."

I think you will like this book if you listened to Tammi back then, liked her voice, loved her duets with Marvin Gaye, and wondered what really happened to her: Who was she, where did she come from, and how did she grow up to become such a wonderful singer and such a presence in the music world at the time. 

Ludie does a wonderful job describing their childhood. The girls grew up in a middleclass family in Philadelphia. Their mother was frequently ill, their father, a barber, who also had an entrepreneurial streak, was absent a lot. Their Aunt Alice seems to have been a steady presence in their lives. Tammi decided very early on to pursue a music career and appeared in local Philadelphia clubs and venues. Reading this book, I'm struck by how young she was when she first began her career and how she set out to live her life fully from this very young age. She only lived for 24 years but she was so alive, so bright, fun, and talented, and she knew she wanted to sing.

Tammi also went through difficult times in her young life. Even early on, long before her brain tumor was diagnosed, she was plagued by severe headaches. The men she chose were not the best for her, but then she was so young and had to learn, like most of us. 

The end of the book is, of course, sad. Tammi was so young and she went through so much pain related to her illness. But she was also a very strong and inspirational young woman. I found out that she was with a good man at the end of her life and that made me smile. 


And I still have her music, but, of course, nothing to play it on. Is there a CD out there? I should check.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

First, I want to welcome three new followers to my blog: Debbie, DeanO, and Sharon. I'm looking forward to getting to know you and I hope you will enjoy Desert Canyon Living.

A happy baby picture of me with my Dad and his parents. The two salt dishes below belonged to my grandparents. 

When Jim of Ocean Breezes  talked about his retro salt and pepper shakers on Saturday, he inspired me to take a picture of these two little treasures and the very tiny silver spoon I use to this day to dish my salt with. These reminded me of two other treasures my grandparents had, that I wish I had now: Small silver dachshunds that you rested your butter knife on after you used the butter. I haven't thought of them in years, but I always thought they were so cool. 

Going down memory lane on Tuesdays is so much fun for me and I hope it's fun for you to come along and maybe remember some treasures of your own or a special person in your life.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

More About Nils and My Day So Far

I was really happy about your interest in Nils, the small boy who traveled across Sweden with the migrating geese in Selma Lagerlof's great book. If you decide to get the book, please get this version, which includes part two that takes Nils back home to the south of Sweden:

You can read a good review of the book by an customer here.

This morning, the weather was incredible and I just had to get out and walk. I took the dogs and with camera in hand tried to take a couple of new photos of the canyon:

This is the road to the barn and some of the ever present juniper trees.

One reason Angel is on a leash is this….sniffing, not moving for the longest time. Angel says: "Just reading my morning newspaper, Mom."

I love these old fence posts. One of our property markers is located at the top of that hill.

I'm resting, Angel reads a new paragraph.

The rock formation on top of the hill looks like the wall of an ancient city. Actually, many of the formations on top of hills here in the canyon look like fortresses. At least to me.

Mommy:  "Lots of news in this morning's paper, eh, Angel? Are we going to stand here for a long time? You know I just read that people who walk the fastest live the longest. This dawdling does not speak well for Mommy."

Another part of our property. More rocks and a gully that you can't really see here. But I'll go back and explore some more. I've wanted to do a post featuring rocks in the canyon for so long and I never got to it. Maybe now I will. Sorry about the upside down picture below, but you can imagine it.....

Mommy: "OK, are we at the funnies now? Or politics, maybe? I saw how you read, scratched a hole, peed in the hole, and then read some more. I guess you just voiced your opinion? And I sure hope you are well informed by now."  Angel: "Yes, Mommy, I know who was here last night, who they met, what they did and I bet you have NO idea." Mommy: "Hmmm, I guess I get your point."

Back home, I took all the wood in from the porch where I left it to dry after all the rains we had. I left the large logs out there because my husband will soon be back and he can bring them in. This is just the construction leftovers, apple wood from my BIL's garden, and some starter wood I picked up out in the canyon. Of course, Samson is the reason everything is up high and the end tables are covering the bookcases (he loves to eat books). And I'll cover the wood on the table with a towel so he won't drag it all around when I'm not around.

Then I started my spring cleaning with the smallest space around here, Pippi's birdcage. I think he's happy now, being the first one with a clean house and all.

While the pictures uploaded, I tried my hand at baking a new bread. From a recipe I never tried before, so we'll see how it comes out. 

Thanks for visiting and have a nice rest of the day everyone.


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