Thursday, June 29, 2017

Samson Is OK ~ But I Need A Break

Samson is doing very well. We walked for 10 minutes yesterday and I will keep that up for a week or so and then increase the time. His sway back, that I noticed after he was groomed, is due to loss of muscle and he is weak in general and needs a slow buildup. He's not alone, I do too.

I read up on Cushing's syndrome and will discuss it with the vet. I was actually the one who brought it up with him, referring to my experience with another dog and medicines resulting in liver failure. The vet then said that Samson has the steroid version of Cushing's, but at that point I was done for and ready to go home. I guess I also had to absorb that and think about it before I discussed it further. It was a very long vet visit with lots of information provided and questions answered.

Samson needs a lot of my attention right now, meals and meds at set times, and so on. In addition to this, I am in the midst of an escrow and the ginormous number of forms that need to be reviewed, signed and mailed back (15 miles drive to the post office) or docu-signed. Love that one can now sign online. 

Good thing is that the dangerous heat wave has broken and temps are more normal for June, early July. I normally don't even put on my air conditioner until August, so the June heat was truly an aberration.

So I will take a blogging break for a week or two, but before I go, I want to say this:

Thank you so much, once again, for your friendship and for making me feel so loved and cared for. You are such genuine, caring, and beautiful people. Thanks for being there for me.

Because you know, there's one huge thing that is different for me now: Errol is not here to help with Samson, with the emotional support one needs when someone you love is ill. I didn't think it would matter so much, but it does. 

P.S. I'm not selling my house here in the canyon. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Quick Samson Update and What Rachael Did (Again!)

The good news is that Samson is home. The bad news is that the steroids he is taking for the UDS has triggered Cushing's syndrome (more about that later in another post). Our dog Bandit had Cushings and it's not pretty. To add this syndrome to all the other issues Samson suffers from, this was quite a blow to me. So I will have to absorb it, refresh my memory about Cushing's, and then write some more.

Samson Says: I'm fine mommy, just give me some food. 

I called Rachael last night because Mary told me there had been a fire off the 14 freeway at Placerita Canyon. The wildlife rescue where Rachael volunteered, maybe still does, and where her favorite bird, Orion, the greathorned owl used to live, is located in that canyon. As is her favorite hiking trail. So I was concerned. 

Rachael and Orion

Rachael told me that she and her boss at the park saw the fire as they were leaving work around 2:30 p.m. And Rachael, being who she is, got one of the park's county trucks and drove up to the canyon with her boss. Both the freeway and the other main thoroughfare, Sierra Highway, were closed, but with the county truck and on their way to rescue animals, the cops let them in.

Rachael said all the firetrucks were staged at the Disney estate and the road they drove to the rescue was empty of fire personnel, even though the fire was burning on one side of it. When they arrived, there were only two staff at the rescue and they had been told to stay in place. Rachael said the fire is right around the corner, go and look, and proceeded to stuff snakes in pillowcases, and get all the lizards and spiders together. Her boss and the two staff, who finally saw the fire and woke up to the seriousness of it all, rescued the birds and a couple small wild critters.  They then drove the animals up to another rescue in the mountains, at Vasquez canyon. 

Rachael said she came home around 5:30 suffering from a splitting headache, dehydration, and smoke inhalation. But that's Rachael. Last year, she and another woman rescued several horses from a fire. Not sure if they were wild horses or not, but they were loose in a field, scared and panicky. That time one scared horse knocked his head into Rachael's and injured her mouth. She is something else, my friend Rachael. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Quick Update

I really didn't mean to keep my sombrero picture up on the blogs for all to see for this long. But first the heatwave hit and then Samson got sick. 

Of course he suffered the most from the heat. I even had to lock him in my one air conditioned room just to cool him off. Being a dog, of course he wanted to be with me, or at least to keep an eye on me. And I didn't have time to spend all day in there. But every afternoon though, we were all in there, watching movies and staying cool. It was over 80 degrees in the living room and that's just too much. 

Feeling guilty, I talked to Samson about herding reindeer in the snows of Siberia, which is what he is supposed to be doing. 

But then he got sick, really, really sick. He has a very sensitive stomach, but this went way beyond that. I thought he was going to die on Saturday, and the vet was very worried too and kept him over the weekend. In addition to his chronic illness, he had severe stomach issues and an enlarged liver. He vomited all of Saturday, but yesterday morning, he was much better. And interested in food. Don't know how that went, but he probably will come home today.  

So that's what has been going on. More later.....

Faith has not minded being the only dog. But she will no doubt be happy to see him again.

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. 


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