Friday, August 21, 2015

The Adventures of Samson and Faith

Faith: Come on Samson, we're supposed to have an adventure! 

Samson: Says who?

Faith: Mommy says up above. It's our new Co-Blogger headline. Come on you big old fluffy thing, let's play!

Samson: Ouch! What are you doing?!

Faith: I'm cleaning by your eyes. Mommy spills half your eyedrops all the time. Will she ever learn?

Faith: OK, now you're clean and handsome again. Let the adventure begin!

Samson: It's too hot for adventures. Can I sleep now, please? All I want is to sleep and dream of Siberia, where us Samoyeds come from. Where the snow is white, the ice is cold, and a dog can enjoy himself.

Faith: There you go again with your snow and ice. Sounds pretty cold and miserable to me.

Samson: That's because you don't have any fur.
Faith: I do so too, black and beautiful, that's me!
Samson: Hmmmm.........

Faith: I have a big mouth too, you wanna see?

Samson: OK, OK, I believe you. Now, can an old dog get some peace around here?

Faith: OK, go dream about your snow. Whatever that is. Supposed to come in the winter and be a big deal. Well, I lived one whole winter and never saw any snow. Maybe you're making it up.....

Samson: I'm not, good night!
Faith: It's in the middle of the day and we didn't have any adventures at all. Zero! Boring, boring, maybe I go and mess with mommy for a while, heh, heh.......

Have a Nice Day, Everyone!

Samson & Faith

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

One Thousand And One Posts

I wanted post number 1,000 to be something special, but I messed up and forgot to check to see where I was in the post count. This, post number 1001, will just be an update on our lives here in the canyon, and sharing some gratitude. I'm immensely grateful for these two hounds. I love them so, they are really good dogs, taking care of me and doing a such good job. I'm grateful for many things in my life: my friends and family, my health, and for all of you, my blogger friends, who have been so wonderful to me this past year. 

Yes, the manhunt is over and the fugitive is dead. I have never before been so glad to hear that someone was shot dead, seriously. I surprised myself with that one. Saturday, he went into a Mini Mart in the desert town of Inyokern, some 35 miles from where they focused the search, and far away from here. There, he encountered a very, very cool and fast-thinking store clerk, who after he recognized him, texted his sister to call 911, then proceeded to chat with the man to keep him there until sheriff deputies arrived. He didn't quite succeed in that, but the deputies found the man, Benjamin Peter Ashley, and after he pulled a gun, they shot and killed him.  And the longest manhunt in Kern County's history is now over. 

Two of the guns he carried belonged to the man he killed. The victim, Dr. David Markiewitz, a retired dentist from our town, will be laid to rest on Sunday. There will be a huge celebration of his life with many, many Tehachapi residents taking part. 

It was interesting to read your thoughts about guns. Thank you for your feedback and thoughts. This guy made me feel vulnerable, which made me think about guns. I have never felt afraid or apprehensive here before. I doubt I will get a gun, but I will be thinking about protection in different ways than I did before this manhunt took place. 

I have finished reading the first draft of my Living Trust. And I will see the attorney on Friday. I also told my tenants in Los Angeles that I have to sell the house. That went well, and I hope they will want to and will be able to buy it. 

Friday, I drove down the mountain and eleven miles on this deserted and beautiful road, maybe through land of the Tejon Indian Tribe, not sure, to the small town of Arvin. Located in the San Joaquin Valley, it was like coming back to Mexico. But I wasn't touristing, I was on my way to the DMV.

Once there, I changed title on my four vehicles. Earlier in the week, I had old Betsy, the 1989 Ford Ranger pickup smogged and repaired at a high price and all is not well yet with her. Ouch! I also paid the registration for the Jeep, due in October. Now it has to be smogged and have the oil pan replaced or repaired. I have to take it in next week, so I won't have to worry about that pan and oil leaks any longer. 

In addition to these planned costs, there's either a conspiracy brewing among my appliances, or we are being visited by Murphy. You know which Murphy I mean, the one with the law..... It's as if they all discovered that I now have a few dollars, not to spare, exactly, since they need to last, but still. First the stove, then the microwave, and now the washing machine conk out. All within a month! Glenn checked it out and it is gone, so I had to buy a new washing machine. I got the most basic and next to the cheapest, old fashioned, kind. A fancy one would not do, since it has to live in the shed.

The house, which has looked, not quite this bad, but almost, for years now facing south, will get new siding where needed only. Glenn just bought it today. He will install and then paint the entire house a lovely sage color. He got the paint today as well, so I hope it will be pretty. 

The windows are horrible too, and the ones in the dining room broken after Errol once swatted a fly on them. That's how secure they are! Home Depot guys are coming on September 1 to install the new windows. That's what will make the biggest difference in my life here. 

When I came back home from the DMV, they were pouring new asphalt on our road here in the canyon. Following these trucks, I had to stop every two minutes, so the guys in the first truck could jump off and fix some uneven spots. Boring, so I took pictures with my phone. I like the colors in it, which is why I'm posting it.

Finally, Microsoft offered a Windows 10 upgrade for free and I accepted, sort of surprising myself a bit since I'm always the last one to get new stuff. I don't use Windows much, but changes have been made to my picture files and some cool new features added at sign in. I think I will like it and will explore it more as the rest of my life quiets down a bit. 

Have a Nice Day, Everyone!

Samson & Faith

Monday, August 10, 2015

Manhunt In The Mountains

not too far from here.

This raises the question: To own or not to own? A fully functioning gun that an old lady like myself can handle. 

I have guns here that I can't even lift and were I to attempt to shoot someone, I would fall flat on my behind. That is if I had cleaned them, practised, and had some bullets around. Oh, Harry, I know you must wonder: What!!! She lives in the mountains, isolated, and she doesn't have a gun?

This is what happened: This man kidnapped three guys and held them for some time. They escaped and reported him. Then he moved on to Jaw Bone Canyon, a canyon sort of behind ours, behind mountains, where he entered a cabin and killed a retired dentist from our town, Tehachapi. 

A week ago Saturday, he en encountered two law enforcement officers, shot and injured them, and got away. Since then they are focusing the search on a five square-mile area, around where the deputies were shot. Not close to here, but he has not been found.  

Today is day 13 in the manhunt. According to local TV news, there are 18 agencies involved, including The U.S. Marshals, and police, sheriffs, swat teams, fire departments, and so on from all over California. The mountains are rugged, there are caves, old mines, and rocky terrain. Because they can't find him, they think he may be a mountain man, a survivalist, or that someone is helping him. He may be dead too, of course. It's hot and dry out there.

Three local schools are closed and so is a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. And I saw an amazing piece on TV of a lovely spiritual retreat where the guests had been evacuated, but where young men, long-haired and sort of hippie looking, were patrolling the grounds with rifles. 

Now you know I don't scare easily. I lived alone here for four and a half years before Errol moved up in 2011. At that time, I didn't even have a gate. For my protection then, I had four large dogs, including a German shepherd and a German shepherd cross. I also live at the end of a very long road. Most burglars prefer a fast exit and that I can't provide. So I have never felt unsafe here and certainly not afraid. But now we're not talking burglars, not talking someone coming from the road, in a car, but rather someone armed and dangerous coming across the wilderness that surrounds me. 

Are you scared yet?!

But I have Samson and Faith. Samson is an excellent guard dog. I can trust him to alert to anything or anyone moving outside. He will bark, except for bears. Don't ask me why. I don't know what else he would do. Faith would kill, if she could. But she's small and most likely will not scare anyone. Giving her the advantage of surprise. I believe there may be a pit bull in there somewhere in her DNA. 

So even if they find this guy, I feel more concerned about my safety than I ever have since I moved here. It is, of course, so much safer than living in Los Angeles, where I reported an intruder once (dogs alerted) and it took the police 45 minutes to show up. Oh, well.....

So, to be or not to be a gun owner? When I lived in the mountains of New Jersey, well, hills, I guess they were, we had a lot of guns. My first husband had escaped from communist Hungary, and once he became a citizen, first thing he did was arm himself. Just because he could. And I learned to use them. So I'm not a stranger to guns, just don't really want to own one. 

Please send good thought out to all the agencies looking for this dude. I feel tension in my body and mind and really wish they would find him. Soon.....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Galaxy S6 Camera Created

this photo on its own. 

When I took this picture, it wasn't dark, the sun had not set, it was just hiding behind the juniper. I like the way my phone camera captured the old truck and the halo effect aroud the tree.

The S6 camera exposure setting is too dark. I haven't tried to correct it, but I have accidentally clicked something that resulted in much lighter pictures. So I know it can be done. Right now I have so much on my mind that I won't play around with it. I use Picmonkey when I need to lighten something. Later, I hope to learn a lot of new things. I just need to free up my mind, which is too old to do too many things ~ and I'm not talking about at the same time ~ more like in the same month! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Notes From The Canyon

This time of year, in this hot canyon, I long for fall, for cooler weather. June was superhot, but July wasn't bad. We had a couple of fabulous rain and thunderstorms, complete with mudslides and a wrecked roadway, but good for the earth and all living things. August has arrived with muggy weather, reminding me of New Jersey summers. We would suffer now, the dogs and I, except for this:

An a/c and heating unit, a gift from friends here in the canyon. Can you imagine getting a gift like this?! It has made such a huge difference. On hot evenings the dogs and I huddle in the former master bedroom, where the a/c is, and watch DVDs. Samson was a bit scared of the noise and wouldn't go in there at first, but now he's enjoying the cool breeze. Faith, smart dog that she is, took to it immediately. 

I've hired Errol's brother Glenn as a contractor to help me with some renovation work that's badly needed here. So far, I bought a new stove on sale from Sears online. I only have electric here and the old stove, also a Kenmore, was probably original to the house, i.e., from 1977. I was so scared of it, I bought a new fire extinguisher even. So when I saw this stove on sale, I decided to get it. 

Good thing too, Glenn said the wiring on the old one was in terrible shape and just fell apart when he removed the stove. It was only a matter of time, he said, before I would have had to use my new fire extinguisher. 

Before I knew my husband and Glenn, I thought guys who worked in construction just worked with their hands. Never did I realize or even consider the amount of knowledge, brain work, calculations, and patience, among about a thousand other things involved in just getting a new stove, slightly larger than the old one, with things butting out from the sides, and so on, to fit into an opening made for a completly different stove. Glenn did a fabulous job and now, of course, I must cook. No more excuses......

I have also ordered new windows from Home Depot. The windows in this house (also original from 1977) are horrible, they let in heat, cold, and worst of all the desert dust. Once they are installed, I  should both save money on my electric bill and not have to dust all the time. I will check rebates too. A guy is coming today to measure. This will make a huge difference to the quality of my life here. I'm excited!

Remember how I was fretting about the Living Trust? I know better than to do that, but I still did. Then two friends suggested I just have a professional manage it. When the time comes and I no longer can. Brilliant! I went with the guy the attorney recommended and turned in my draft last Monday. With no blood relatives here, I really had no choice but to make sure everything is spelled out and legal. 

The junipers are ripe with fruit after a barren season last year. Come fall, this will be food for bears, coyotes, and all the small critters around here. 

You may wonder how I'm doing emotionally and I have a few things to say about that, but this post is getting too long. I'm much more needy than in the past and I talk too much when someone calls. My feelings may be worthy of a separate post. We'll see.....

But I also feel a bit more creative. I want to blog now, take pictures, and write. Crochet, even. I'm getting into it and enjoying it. I'm glad you liked my Thomas story. Your comments meant a lot to me. I am still full of sadness, but I also feel that I'm at the beginning of the road that will lead to the rest of my life. And I want that life to be good. That much I know. 

Then the other night, I did something I hadn't done in a long time. (Except when my cousin was here.) When I saw a gorgeous sunset outside my window, I went out and took some pictures.

Have a great day, my dear friends.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Day At The Museum

with my friend Jane

A couple of weeks ago, I drove to Los Angeles to spend a day with my friend Jane at the J. Paul Getty Center and Museum. 

Situated on a hill with the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean below, it is the design, layout, architecture, and gorgeous building materials that make this place so special. 

I guess you would expect me to have some pictures of all this splendor, but this was a day to spend with a good friend I had not seen in far too long.

I got tired pretty fast, the drive is long for me, but Jane led me around, treated me to lunch and later to coffee. We mostly just sat and talked. It was wonderful.

I am not sure what this little branch of a bougainvillea was trying to do, but the effect against the wall was beautiful. 

So Jane and I both took a picture of it.

And of this owl as well. 

Growing up, my dad got me interested in books and my mom took me to museums. She loved art, she loved Paris, and she would stand just like this, looking at a painting. It touched me to see myself standing just like she did. I don't look like my mom at all, but she is so in this stance. It's difficult to share how I felt when I saw this picture. I know I'm glad Jane captured the moment. 

Since my camera is broken, I took some pictures with my phone. I couldn't see a thing. Without a viewfinder, the white buildings and the strong sunshine made it impossible to see anything through the phone. I just took some shots hoping for the best. Well, the best didn't happen. 

If you are interested, I recommend that you go to Google images and check out the Getty Center. It's quite a treasure. The blue that meets the sky in the picture above is the Pacific Ocean. I know, not the best, but still, I haven't seen it either in far too long. 

At the end of our visit, I suggested that we try to get together every three months or so. Pick a place and just do it. So we decided on William S. Hart Park, where Rachael works, in October. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Little Engine Travels The World And Finds A New Home

Thomas was the last little engine left on the K-Mart shelf. All my friends are gone, he thought. People must have liked them better than me. What will I do, where will I go, what if no one will want me?

But just as he began to seriously doubt that he could, a man and a tall lady came towards him and the man grabbed Thomas and showed him to the lady. Oh, she said, he's got the same name as you! Let's buy him. Look, said the man, he can blow bubbles too! You bet, thought the little engine, I can!

So off they went. The little engine didn't know he was in for a great adventure. First, he was taken to Palm Springs, where he overheard that many movie stars and other fabulously wealhty people lived. He didn't see any, but the hotel where he stayed was very nice with a big swimming pool. 

One day he heard that their vacation was over and they would all travel to a land far, far away, called Sweden. And to get there, they would have to cross the big Atlantic Ocean. I could float, said Thomas, I'm made of plastic, after all.

No, no, he was told, you will fly! In a big airplane. Fly, thought Thomas, that will be one big adventure for me. I bet those other little engines that left the store before me didn't get to fly.

After a long and tiring journey, Thomas finally arrived in Sweden and met his new engineer, a little Swedish boy, named Oliver. 

This is your forever home, Thomas, he was told. Now you can play with Oliver and blow soap bubbles all day long.

Wow, thought Thomas, for a little engine who was afraid he couldn't things worked out so very well. I'm such a happy little engine now and I must never again forget that I'm a Thomas, one of the little engines that could. 

~ The End ~


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