Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Morning Reflections

Celebrating the Christmas season with my husband's eldest brother here with us is joyful. Hubby is happy and I am grateful. 

Again, I want to thank all of you for your support during this past difficult year. It has meant the world to me. Thank you!

Samson Says: On to a better and brighter 2015! Happy New Year, everyone.

Faith Says: Me too, me too! I want to wish you all the very bestest New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas 2014

We wish you,

our dear friends,

a Merry Christmas 

and a Happy New Year!




Puppy Faith

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Morning Reflections

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature,
which, if we unconsciously yield to it,
will direct us aright.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good Fences ~ No. 3

A fence with roses at the Norbertine Monastery on Tehachapi Mountain,  

surrounds a small garden watched over by Saint Joseph, the sisters' patron saint, as well as this sweet dog.

Joining Tex in Good Fences fun. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Random Musings From The Canyon

Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight ~ oh, well, it just came to my mind..... 

1.  The rains came as promised together with a wild windstorm. Year to Date precipitation: 3.28", of which 2.69" fell in December and 1.64" during the 12/12 and 12/13 storm. I think these numbers give you a good idea of how very dry it has been. We got a steady mild rain here, nothing like the deluge that came down upon so many places in our state. 

2.  Faith had her stitches removed today. It was another cold and very windy day here in the mountains. The wind was blowing like crazy over by the vet's place, howling around the Jeep's canvas top. 

3.  Tomorrow, I go to the doctor for a routine visit, more or less. I have a few questions and need some new prescriptions. Then on Wednesday, I have to see the dentist, so that's three days in a row of trips to our town. Hopefully, I can wrap up the Christmas errands too and be done. 

4.  Today, I got a surprise Christmas card from Mirta, who was my sister's caregiver. My sister had the most severe form of Down's syndrome and required constant care throughout her life. She was very fortunate to stay in really good places with good people caring for her. Mirta is from Chile, an immigrant to Sweden, and she was the main caregiver during my sister's final years. I am so happy she thought of me, as if she knew I had a difficult year. Well, she's a very caring person, so maybe she picked up vibes across the oceans. I last saw her in 2005, after my sister passed away.

5.  We have invited my husband's eldest brother to come up and spend Christmas and New Year's with us. His girlfriend recently passed away suddenly, which is so sad since he met her after his wife died, a gift when you get to be our age. He's happy about coming to visit and I know we will eat a lot of good food and have some nice family time. I think it will work both ways and be really good for my husband as well.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa Lucia Day ~ A Celebration of Light in Sweden

Many of you have read my Santa Lucia posts in prior years. This time, I decided to combine the 2012 and 2013 posts and add some background to the Santa Lucia customs in Sweden. If you read this for the first time, I hope you will enjoy learning about Saint Lucy and the tradition of the Festival of Light celebrations held in Sweden on her Saint's Day. 

Me as Santa Lucia in the 1940s

Throughout history, people in the Nordic countries have celebrated light in the dark and cold of the approaching winter solstice. 

In the old calendar, December 13th was the longest night of the year. It was also the most dangerous. A night when animals could speak and fairies, trolls, and giants roamed the forests. In the countryside, young people would dress up in costumes and go from house to house, singing songs, eating and drinking with their neighbors. The custom of a Lucia dressed in white was first recorded in 1764, but didn't become popular until the 19th century. 

This old tradition continues today. On December 13, Santa Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden with festivals of light across the country. And at the darkest time of year, people are reminded that our earth will soon begin to turn toward the light of spring.

According to tradition, the eldest daughter in the family, wearing a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles, brings coffee and Lucia buns (lussekatter) to her parents in bed. 

Yes, that's me as Santa Lucia with a crown of real candles on my head! (I did have a wet napkin on my hair, underneath the crown.) The girl and her court of younger siblings sing the old Neapolitan song Santa Lucia in a translation that celebrates light coming to this dark season. This tradition continues in Swedish homes today, but with battery operated candles, I'm sure.

Lucia buns

Santa Lucia is crowned in schools, churches, and communities all over Sweden and processions are held with the Queen of Light leading her court. Everyone holds candles and sings the Santa Lucia song.  

Source: Google Images

Santa Lucia, or Saint Lucy, was a Sicilian woman who was martyred in the year 304 AD. A common story suggests that she would secretly bring food to persecuted Christians who lived in the catacombs of Rome and, in order to keep her hands free, she wore a crown of candles on her head. Another legend tells us that she consecrated her virginity to God through pious works. After she refused to marry her betrothed, a pagan man, he became infuriated and reported her to the authorities. When guards came to arrest her, she was so filled with the Holy Spirit that they couldn't move her, even with a team of oxen. The guards then gathered materials around her and set them on fire, but she didn't burn. In medieval accounts, Saint Lucy's eyes are gouged prior to her execution and she is often depicted in art carrying her eyes on a tray.

Saint Lucy, by Domenico Beccafumi, in a 1521 recasting of an iconic Gothic image. It was said that Saint Lucy was tortured with eye gouging, hence this rather disturbing image. The picture, as well as some of the history of Saint Lucy, are courtesy Wikipedia. 

Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind. Her name is derived from Lux, Latin for light, and she is presented with light in art and literature.  Saint Lucy is one of only seven women, aside from the Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass


A Note:

The coffee cups I carry in the second picture above, belonged to my maternal grandmother and they now have a home here with me.

My maternal grandmother

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Good Fences ~ No. 2

A fence so bad, 

it's almost good. 

Joining Tex for
Good Fences Thursday

Monday, December 8, 2014

Notes From The Canyon

How I love a foggy day. In Stockholm, where I was born, when the sun shines strong in spring, park benches are full of pale Swedes with their faces turned up, catching every last ray of sunshine. Not me, not even when I lived there, and certainly not here in the desert mountains where the sun shines ALL the time, or so it seems. 

Faith is doing very well. Samson not so much, he definitely picked up on my nervousness as he interacted with Faith when she first came back from the vet. I have kept them apart since then, but the few times they have met up, he tries to avoid her as she comes at him with all her usual exuberance. His attitude is not good, he's nervous, and I don't trust him. I know he picks up on my emotions, so I let hubby deal with the two of them. I'm just not good with dogs, they are far too able to pick up on and react to my worries. Her stitches come out a week from today and I can't wait.

Since Faith has to be on a leash now, I walk each them for half an hour, so an hour for me. This morning, Samson and I climbed the tall hill to the north of our house. Samson is like a mountain goat out there, he truly loves to climb and has a special way of doing it. The way down was steep, and since I didn't have my ski pole with me I shortened the leash, grabbed some fur on his back, and with his help made it safely down the hill.

My husband had a setback that we traced back to food and drink. It began on the 17th of November when we headed to Denny's for lunch after a trip to Bakersfield. We were hungry and tired and he drank two cups of coffee, after not having had any since May. Then there was Thanksgiving at our neighbors. Then there was Rachael's peanut brittle, which he adores. He gobbled up all of that in record time. And then had some spicy New Orleans food that really did him in. I have been so worried, but he is now feeling better. This is the first time since May that he's slipped up on his diet. I must say, he's been extremely good about not eating any of the things he always enjoyed: no spicy food, salt, red meat, sweets, coffee, tea, beer, wine, and you get the picture. He will not repeat his mistakes, the consequences were that bad.

Finally, a note from the UK: My blogger friend Hailey-Eszti, who has M. E. and whose picture I have at the bottom of my blog, made four of the national papers in the UK the other day. Please click here to read the story of her battle with M. E., of how she's not taking it laying down, and how she's making it as a disabled model (she is stunningly beautiful, but better yet, amazingly courageous, and very talented). Her story is uplifting and I know that if you click on the link and read her story, she will inspire you as she has me.

Finally, this is a word verification free blog, has been for years. Please let me know if you are being asked to verify a word or some numbers. I am worried because I see it sometimes now when I check your comments from the front page of my blog. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Morning Reflections


As I reflect on the beauty of a new day
 and the blessings in my life: 

I am grateful for my husband
 for Samson and puppy Faith
for our family and friends,
old friends and new

I am grateful for you, my blogger friends,
who gave me so much love and support
this past long summer

May this Holiday Season bring you

Friday, December 5, 2014

Samson & Faith

Samson Says:

Earlier, I complained about neglect turning beautiful white dog into common looking beige one. Remember? Now, like most dogs, I'm not fond of baths, but I like my fur white, its silvery tips glittering in the sun. I mean who wouldn't, if they looked like me? Heh, heh, this was just a joke, I'm not vain, I'm just kidding. 

But who likes to be dirty, who likes to bother old and sickly persons, asking for a brush-out at least? So when the rains came and the downpour started, I had an idea:  I'll lay down on my table and let the rain do the work. And it did! My fur color went from beige to snowy, sparkly white, just like it's supposed to look. The tips glitter in the sun and my fur is so soft, silky even. Oh, how I wish my Gracie could see me now! 

All I need now is a good brushing ~ hello, anyone hear me? Then I have to tell you about Faith. First she goes with mommy in the car and then mommy comes home, the car comes home, groceries show up, but no Faith. What the @#$%^, I thought, but I didn't let on. Just pretended not to care. Next day she came home. Wearing the dreaded cone!

Mommy: Faith has been fixed. She's got stitches and you can't play with her.

Me: (Fixed??!! As far as I'm concerned, she was just fine the way she was, but then, no one asks me around here.)  Can I just sniff her a little? 

Mommy: Just her face, you can give her a lick on her nose, but nowhere else.

Me: OK. And I did, then I, being a dog and all, just couldn't help myself, I just had to sniff her you know where.

Mommy: Samson! I just told you, BAD DOG!

Then she snatches Faith away and ever since we've been kept apart. Doors open, doors close, we don't get to see each other. Between you and me, I think mommy's overdoing it a bit. I mean, what can a little sniff hurt?

Mommy, who doesn't know what I just wrote, just asked me to let you all know that Faith is doing great. The vet man said she was in a weird heat (whatever that means) but not a real one, something half-way, and not that unusual when it's the first time. (Well, I could have told them that. Being a dog, I don't need to be a doctor to tell if a girl is in heat or not. Humans!)

Yesterday, after she came home, she was confused, then she fell asleep on the couch. But this morning, she was back to her usual self. Mommy took her for a short walk on a leash. Mommy said "heel," and Faith walked heel like a pro. I thought she might have forgotten, 'cause she always runs loose, but no. She's a smart one, that's for sure. Me, I forget all the time........

Her stitches come out around the 15th, and then we can play and be normal again.

Have a nice day, everyone!

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Dog


Auntie Feral Woman: I'm very glad you got Ranger. He's a fine dog and that picture of the two of you in the corner of your blog is very special. I know he's a lucky dog. Hope you will come by and read this. ~ Your Samson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good Fences ~ No. 1

Rainy day pictures of a fence line along the road to our mail box. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


You know I had to show you this, even though most of you see rain and puddles all the time. 

Took Faith to the vet this morning in a downpour. She is so CALM and well behaved (with only Samson having had the energy and time to bring her up properly) that I feel truly blessed to know her. She will come home tomorrow. 

Samson is not acting as if he misses her. Probably happy to get a break from all that puppy love.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Random Musings From The Canyon

"I'm trying to overwhelm my pessimism with optimism."
                 ~ Josh, a contestant on Master Chef Junior 

1.  Unfortunately Josh was eliminated from the competition last week on this show, which I have come to adore. It has inspired me to kick hubby out of the kitchen, at least a few times a week, and begin to cook a little. It has been such a long time, but I know I can't expect him to do it all the time any longer. So, if these little six to twelve-year olds can do it, I should be able to as well. 

After downloading the Advent Calendar, you click on this snowglobe and a magical place opens up. Being a child at heart is the only requirement for enjoying it all.

2.  My friend Dee sent me a virtual Advent Calendar from  I don't know if she had any idea how perfect this gift would be for me. After a difficult year, one where I wasn't sure my hubby would live to see Christmas again, I will revel in going back to my childhood, where opening one little window each day before Christmas was the highlight of my day. Some games and puzzles are included as well. If you know someone who's a child at heart, this is the perfect gift.

3.  Puppy Faith has managed to hold off on going into a full-blown heat. So far only hormonal changes are taking place. Tomorrow is the day she goes in for her spay surgery. I hope nothing will happen before then.

I'm hoping for puddles like these (from a long time ago), but no more.

4.  Rain is supposed to come to Central and Southern California (that's us) tomorrow. It's already raining further north, all the way up to Washington state. I hope we get a good soaking, but no flooding. 

5.  It looks like a glorious morning outside, cold and crisp, with sparkling sunshine melting frost on the ground and ice on our cars. I will take the dogs out soon. Yesterday, we scared up a coyote that took off, running up a hillside.

An old picture ~ these days, we hear them at night but see few during the day. The drought has changed everything related to nature in the canyon.


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