Friday, September 25, 2015

Errol's Birthday, Clouds, Brain Fog, And Taking A Blogging Break

This is my new living room window. I took these pictures on 9/15, the last time I saw dark and serious clouds here. I even woke up to some rain that morning, very little, but such a lovely sound. 

That evening, the clouds were magnificent and, you know me and clouds, I just had to capture some of their majesty. 

Since then it has been hot, dry, and windy here. What I call scary fire weather. 

I have lived here for nine years now and, reading my journal from September 2006, it's amazing how much nature has changed. Then I saw coyotes almost every day, bobcats often, hawks too, a multitude of rabbits, large coveys of California quail making their way across the lawn, yes, grass grew here and on the hillsides too, and the junipers were green and healthy. 

Now sand blows across the barren spaces in front of my house, dust devils of amazing sizes form, the sky it a hot blue, if that's possible, the wind howls and the wild critters are, for the most part, gone.  

Enough of that, hopefully, we will get some rain soon. This is the siding my BIL, Glenn, put up, thus saving me thousands of dollars. The color around the window is the sage color that the house will be painted once Glenn is done with the repairs. He only did siding on the two worst sides, south and east. The rest is good enough to just be painted. 

I will try to take a break from blogging until mid-October. Between now and October 3rd, I hope to be able to focus on the tasks at hand, those requiring some mental work. Those that have so completely overwhelmed me because I just cannot focus. 

After that, I will be on vacation. I will stay right here, but I will not schedule anything. Just do what I want to do. An incredible amount of outdoor work has piled up during the past year. I feel blessed that I still can work hard, however, I can't do it the way I could when I was younger, or even just 10 years ago. But I will do what I can, what I enjoy. Then maybe check out a movie, go to the local museum, things like that. I really need something just for me. 

Finally, today is Errol's birthday. He would have been 69. I'm writing this on the 24th, so I don't know how I will feel. I imagine it will be a day like all the rest of them, where I do really well, feel happy even, and then, I may suddenly be overcome by incredible sadness. That's how my days are now. I still cry, Faith still comes immediately and licks whatever part of me she can reach. I know I can't make her and Samson worried, so I stop crying, I smile, I pet her, hug her, and the day goes on. And I'm OK.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

GranFondo 2015 ~ Tehachapi, California

In the early morning, my friends from CERT and I drive up a winding road, one I've never been on before, 

to the large wind farms, 

by the Pacific Crest Trail. 

We set up ice chests filled with water and ice, and a table with snacks. 

While we wait, I take some pictures of wind turbines and my friend Jeanne. And then they come, so fast, the first, the elite ones, pass us by as we're the first rest stop for both the 100-mile and 70-mile rides. The elite cyclists are in such great shape and their bicycles are gorgeous. 

I wonder, at first, will anyone stop? No worry, lots of them do. The pictures that follow are just to give you an idea of the fun of this event.

We help them fill their water bottles, hand out snacks, take their jackets for safe-keeping, as it's getting hot. Then, as suddenly as it began, it's all over. I haven't had this much fun in a very long time, so I'm sort of disappointed: "What? It's over already?"

I like these last two shots the best. 

We pack up and head back to the canyon, where rest stop number 2 is manned by more of our CERT members, 

including my friend Lisa and her husband.

And so ends a really, really fun morning and I go home to bed and take a nap. 

According to local TV News: 1012 participants from 21 states and 2 foreign countries (Sweden, yeah! and Chile), and $20,000 raised for Tehachapi charities.


Thanks for your comments concerning my insecurity about what I write on my blog. I appreciate you and your comments so much. I think because of Errol's death, I have emotions and feelings that I rarely experienced before. Feeling insecure and overwhelmed among them. 

I will try to mix up my blog content a bit though, just to see if I can. If not, I'm sure Faith will be happy to help.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Notes From The Canyon

Thank you, Mary, for sharing in your comments on my last post that it takes a long time to be able to focus. A friend here in the canyon told me it took her at least two years after the loss of her husband to feel more like herself again. No wonder I feel so frustrated and sort of lost.......

Yesterday, I started to repair the road that leads to my house (in the opposite direction from this picture). I had an idea that all the stuff the last mudslide brought down from the hills above would be light enough for me to lift and would pack well into the road. It was a mixture of manure, hay, sawdust and looked like it came out of a barn. That, with some gravel on top, I figured would work.

The idea was a good one and the stuff worked well, but I picked a bad morning. I noticed a haze, but didn't smell any smoke, so I continued to work for a while. Then I felt it in my lungs and knew it was smoke, probably from the fires around the Kings Canyon area of the Sierras. I stopped smoking in 1993; in 2012, there was a large fire close to our canyon. Not thinking much of it, I walked the dogs and spent time outside through the couple of weeks it took to put the fire out. It took my lungs these three years to become somewhat normal again. 

This morning, the wind must have shifted because it was just gorgeous outside. I cut back some weeds, walked the dogs, climbed a couple of hills, and enjoyed the pretty yellow bushes in the fields below. 

I just spent a lot of money fixing the Jeep. Thinking this was the end of fixing it, I drove home, happily, and a bit fast on this bumpy road, when the Death Wobble started up again. I wrote about this problem with some Jeep Wrangler models a couple of years ago. It was supposedly fixed last summer. I checked the records and learned it was 12,000 miles ago. So that's how long that repair lasted. 

The Death Wobble makes the Jeep shake violently and you have to stop. Having to stop in the middle of the freeway with a big semi-truck behind you puts your life in jeopardy. It has happened to me a couple of times. From now on, I will not drive the Jeep on freeways with heavy traffic. That's all I have decided so far. I'm so disappointed. But I'm glad that it didn't happen in the spring when I had to drive those 107 miles to UCLA hospital several times a week. The Jeep will be fine for around here and later I will have it repaired again. 

I wish I was able to post just one gorgeous picture per post and then write some wise and/or fun and entertaining words below. Some of you are so good at that. If I did, then I could post more often, I guess. I may just try. I'm a bit tired of my own ramblings. 

Faith Says: I know how you do that, mommy.

Me: How?

Faith: You wanna hear?

Me: OK.

Faith: Are you ready?

Me: Faith, you're taking up a lot of space already. Just get to the point, OK.

Faith: OK.

Me: Is that it?

Faith: No, this is what I would say on my post, if I ever got to post: Woof, woof, and:

Have a nice day, everyone! 

Heh, heh, heh, tricked you mommy!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Notes From the Canyon

The above mess is just one of the reasons I haven't been by to see you or posted something of my own. Renovations here are progressing: new windows were installed on the first, Glenn put up new siding on the south side, repaired the eaves, and scraped the west side of the house. Next week, he will put up siding on the east side. The north and west sides are in good condition and can just be painted.

We moved the bookcase back to where it was years ago and this is what's left of the mess after I dusted (and dusted and dusted) and purged the books. More will be added after I go through my other bookcases. I'm leaving the bottom shelves vacant for now even though Faith shows no interest in books, just in material things, like afghans, pillows, and such. My blogger friend Dreaming drew the pictures of Faith and Samson that I placed on top. They are absolutely fabulous. She sent them to Errol and me when he was in ICU. One 'Get Well,' one 'Thinking of You' card. One of the many thoughtful things I received from you guys.

In the past two weeks, five or six followers have decided to leave my blog. I hope these are people who never came by and decided to just clean out their followers in order to not have too many blogs to follow. I do that myself a few times a year, or used to when I had time for such things. 

The rabbit brush bushes are in bloom, early this year. Apples are early too, I read in the paper. Tehachapi has several large apple orchards, but Glenn has the best ever apple tree. When I asked him to bring me some apples, he told me that the ground squirrels had gotten them all. 

I'm not happy with the colors of these pictures, taken with my phone. Sometimes pictures from my phone are just gorgeous, other times they are really bad. There are settings on the phone camera, but I haven't taken the time, so I guess I can't complain. I also see that Windows 10 will force me to organize my pictures or do something. I don't like the way they have it set up. And I also miss pictures. They are there on the large Windows 10 display, but I can't find them when I want to download them to my blog. 

I'm so glad September is finally here with cooler weather, particularly at night. Tomorrow, September 6, I have lived up here for nine years. I remember it so well, driving up here with one cat, one bird, and two dogs in the car.  Errol following with Bandit, our third dog.  I kept a journal where I noted my impressions of nature and the animals that came by. It's different now, the drought, more people, and as one of my friends here said, more dogs. 

I must still be a city girl though, because I get so surprised when find one of these in my backyard. She was here this morning, and after she realized all my green food was gone, I didn't have to do too much to persuade her to go back home. 

When I see a beautiful sunrise like this, I know I don't have to go anywhere to find my joy. All I want for now is to be done with all this extra work I have had to take care of after Errol died. Most of it is done, DMV, Social Security, notifications, etc. and I will pick up the completed Living Trust next week. A few more big issues to deal with, then I should be done.  I take the Jeep in for major repairs next week. Then a lot of doctors' appointments that I have done my best to ignore for too long. Then, maybe I can just be.....

Samson Says:

What is this mess? Did I bring you up to mess up the house like this? You deserve a spanking and I will tell mommy.

Faith: But Samson, this is a Brute! Supposed to be indestructible! I can't help I have such big teeth and strong jaws, can I now?  Mommy thinks I'm part pit bull, after all. And mommy already knows, she took the silly squeaker thingy out so I wouldn't choke. Little does she know about all the rocks I swallowed when I was but a tiny pup! 


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