Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Few Pictures

from around my property. I took these last November, probably with my old phone, which took much better pictures than my new one. The new phone is a cheaper version of my old one, but that's OK, it forces me to do more with my camera. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Notes From the Canyon

Good morning, it's a beautiful day in the canyon. I'm feeling a bit tired this morning, so I thought I'd sit down and write a few notes here. I felt great yesterday, got up early, packed the trash in the Jeep and took off for the dump. This time the trash included my broken DVD player and printer, some more cardboard (I'm so tired of all these cardboard boxes, but my diabetes supplies, some medicines, Samson's Chewy's box with his food arrive this way. I just have to limit the rest.) In the afternoon, I went to Joyce's for crochet group and got a good start on the baby blanket I'm making and plan to donate to a charity in town.

I fail to understand why there's a hall closet and a linen closet, but no broom closet and no laundry room or hook ups for a washing machine/drier in my house. It was built in 1977 and the guy who built it had a wife, who I presume would clean and do laundry. Errol fixed something in the shed for a washing machine, dug a stretch underground for the water drain pipes to a ditch where the water drains. That works really well. 

I have decided that since I have two good size closets, I don't need a hall closet. So I will make it into a broom closet. Everything will fit in there perfectly and most of it is in there already. 

This is my huge suitcase that went with me to Sweden the last two times I went. Like Russian nesting dolls, it has many mini versions inside, as well as a few other bags. Last time I went to Sweden, I went to bury my sister. And I wanted to bring back as much as I could of her things and other things I would buy there. I may have known I would never come back. While I still use and love some of the things brought back, dragging that big suitcase and more, around an airport that was not Los Angeles, my destination, and where we had to collect our stuff, walk for miles or so it seemed, in order to go through customs. There were some problems at LAX, don't remember what. Phew, I learned my lesson to travel light, believe me. Now the big suitcase, together with most of it's nesting bags, will be donated.

Dogs wondering what's going on.

As I worked my way through everything, I dumped it in here, my office/second bedroom. I decided to hang the clothes I want to donate in this closet, together with the clothes that were already in here. I was tempted to continue to go through the boxes that remained on the closet floor in the master bedroom, but somehow understood the wisdom of Marie Kondo's recommendation to do all clothes at the same time and then move on. 

I've now cleaned up the above mess and that's what I took to the dump yesterday. My next step will be to go through the closet in this room, organize the keep, donate, toss piles. Add one for consignment stores as some of the clothes, bags, etc., are in good shape. Then there will not be much more to do in the bedrooms, just some boxes to go through. But there's more, of course, it never ends.

Other than that, we had a huge rain storm one night. The winds were horrible, gusts up to over 60 mph, the house felt like it was shaking, stuff was banging, terrible and scary noises were going on outside. Faith was very perturbed and so was I. Samson was totally calm, snoring away at the side of my bed, while Faith and I stayed up most of the night. When morning finally arrived, I was happy to see that rain had turned to snow and it was white and pretty outside. There wasn't much and it didn't last. It never does these days. 

So that's a few things we've been up to. Oh, Samson is now running loose with Faith and me outside, well, they run, I don't do anything. I will take some pictures for a future post. He's so happy though, I should have done this ages ago. 

Finally, thank you for your nice comments on my bird picture. I wasn't fishing for compliments, I seriously am not happy with the fact that I feel I have about a quarter of what I need to take a good picture. The rest all has to do with learning the camera, practice, patience, and all those good things. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Playing In B&W

Some day, hopefully, I will learn my camera and a picture like this will be better. I think I'm pretty good at composition, but I need to know how to make a small bird stand out. 

I haven't taken anywhere near as many pictures with my - no longer - new camera as I thought I would. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Barbro and Me ~ Friends For Life

I received an email from my friend Barbro in Sweden the other day. She told me that she reads my blog. Barbro, while we still are both alive, I thought it would be a good idea to post this to let you know how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate our friendship. I wrote most of what is below in November 2012, when we had been friends for 66 years. Now it is going on 73. 

Barbro and I outside her childhood home. 

I remember the first time I met Barbro. She lived on a lovely street where most houses were old, made of wood and surrounded by pretty gardens. A forested hill with huge granite boulders and ancient trees separated her street from mine. It wasn't far and you could walk around on a road at the foot of the hill. 

On Barbro's side, there grew a tree with a branch just the right height for me to grab. I could hang from this branch and play at gymnastics. I could swing my legs over the branch and hang upside down with my knees bent around it or I could pull myself up and sit on it. I was only six, but the tree was tempting and I would often wander over there and play. I was a solitary creature even then and enjoyed playing by myself. 

I met Barbro for the first time by this tree. We became really good friends right away and her mom was my best grownup friend for the rest of her life. Barbro and I started first grade together and spent the first four years of school in the same class. Then our lives took different turns, we went to different schools, she married early and had two daughters and I left Sweden. 

Our friendship remains strong and I always see Barbro and her family when I go back to Stockholm. When we see each other, all the years, the distances and our very different life experiences are not important. We connect just like we did when we were six. 

Since I was last back in Sweden in 2005, Barbro lost her very brave and very together sister, Gunilla, to breast cancer. And I lost Errol so we have both gone through grieving for someone we loved. 

Being friends for 73 years is remarkable; to sustain a friendship over a distance of thousands of miles all these years is a wonderful gift. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Tidying Up

I'm documenting my work here, for myself perhaps more than for anyone else. The top of this cabinet was covered in papers, dog medicines, receipts, a dog brush even for the longest time. Yesterday, I cleaned it all up. And purged my jewelry box. 

When visiting Christina and Inga's country place in Sweden, I went under a birch tree and took this green picture. I look at it fondly when nature here dries up and turns brown. The girls are my great-nieces when they were younger. They are older now, Jasmine is in Junior High and Jackie is eight. The Dobermans are Gypsy and Red, the first two dogs of the ten we lived with during our marriage. 

The lamp was my grandmother's. My mother as a young woman and my two cat angels, Samantha and Sindbad. 

Errol and me on our boat and in Mexico, where we spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun. Pedro, the guy whose land we stayed on, gave Errol the horse.  Errol named him Renegade and was a wild rider, bareback always, with just a rope around the muzzle. Not my cup of tea, having grown up riding English saddle with all the appropriate gear. Pedro gave me a saddle but no bridle or anything just the rope. Since the horses were as mellow as Pedro, only problem I usually had was to get a horse to move at all.

I have this huge jewelry box, someone gave to Errol and he gave to me. I never thought I would fill it up, but somehow I did over the years. I don't wear jewelry much here, and had no idea what was in it. I sold my good stuff years ago when the economy crashed and gold was valuable. I have a few good things in my box at the bank, the rest, was in here. 

Those of you who have read Marie Kondo's book or seen her Netflix show about the magic of tidying up, know that the criteria for what to keep is this: An item must "Spark JOY." I'm using that part of her method here, but not taking it too seriously. Though it is helpful.

This is what I kept: The bracelets all come from local thrift stores at $1.00 a piece, the two necklaces are from Chico's in Los Angeles (yes, they all spark Joy).

The little round box contains a small gold four-leaf clover that someone bestowed on me when I was baptized. The Tiffany thingy and the red box are empty. None of this sparks any joy, so probably should be gone. But at least it's empty all around.

The large chunky necklace was a surprise. No idea where that came from. It may look OK on me, but no sparks of joy are flying. The one next to it I love and wear often. The other things are some pins that can stay and a couple of rings. 

The elephant earrings have a story: Errol and Glenn had a small construction business, while I had a good career at UCLA. Sometimes, usually depending on the economy, we had little money. At one such point in time, Errol decided, unbeknownst to me, to take what little money he had left and drive to Las Vegas to see if he could win some more. Most such wild ideas don't end well and this one didn't. So nearly broke, he spent his last money buying those earrings for me. I don't remember if I was angry or not, but I will never part with those elephants, that I know for sure.

 And these are the necklaces I'm keeping. Not sure about the JOY, but they will all stay for now,

I'm packing up some of the things I'm getting rid of and sending them to my great-nieces. They can either wear them or Jackie can play with them, dressing up her Barbies.

The rest goes to our Hospital Guild thrift store in town, where someone else can pay $1.00 and enjoy my old custom jewelry.

Finally, it brought me so much JOY to post again, to visit you, and to hear back from you my dear blogger friends. Buttons and Feral Woman too!! Friends bring more joy than all the stuff one ever will accumulate, for sure.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We Are OK

winter has arrived in the canyon and I'm happy. It's been raining with a little snow mixed in for several days. Thick fog covers the mountains, hiding their snow covered peaks. Thick mud covers the ground and gets dragged into the house by the dogs.   

I know it's cold when I find Samson on the couch. 

In Sweden, we have faeries; my New Orleans relatives have something too, some kind of belief in the supernatural. For example, Errol had me sprinkle salt around this guy who had stolen his old truck and wrecked it. I, not believing such nonsense, did it. He was a neighbor and was on the sidewalk talking to some other guys. So, giggling, I just walked around them, sprinkling a little salt. No harm done, thought I. Believe it or not, but in the next few days the guy broke his leg and within a month or so he moved from the neighborhood. I was really upset and never did that again, for sure. 

Why am I bringing it up now? Look at Faith above. She's a fey dog. She sees things that aren't there. Sometimes in the summer, she scares me. I think there must be a huge spider in the ceiling, but no. She is focusing with such intensity on something I can't see. For the longest time she does this.....

Faith: Mommy, you can see my ball, can't you? 

The weather was bad on Christmas Day, so I spent the entire holiday at home. Not alone, but with my dogs. It was very peaceful and nice. Sometimes I think I love being home alone a bit too much. I caught up with my relatives after the holidays and my grand or is it great-nieces were delighted with their gifts. So all was well there. So important. 

What else? Oh, after the holidays, when I thought I was done spending money, everything that had not broken down recently did. Broke! First my phone. It just died. After three and a half years, after good money spent on it! 

Then my printer went. Well that wasn't as bad since they are pretty inexpensive, but still. After I installed my new one, the internet went. I tried everything, but finally had to call my computer guy. He charges a dollar a minute, but doesn't charge for the mileage coming out here. He determined that my modem was the culprit and fixed it for now, but said I should replace it. He also made sure the printer was set up correctly. And taught me a few new computer-related things. 45 minutes - $45.00. 

Then finally, my DVD player broke. Joyce lent me some movies and I couldn't play them. But she had an extra DVD player that she wanted me to have. So that was really great.  

I just took this picture. It's raining again. I'm hoping for snow. Last time we had a really good snow was Christmas 2015. We have had a little every year since then, but nothing like it used to be when we first moved up here. Still, as dry as it has been, one has to be grateful for the rain. 

Finally, I have been working on a project, not a fun one, but one that had to be done.  A paperwork project. 

I have also worked on getting my house the way I want it. And I'm still going through things and getting rid of a lot. But it is going at a slow pace as I have had some really bad times with my diabetes control. I finally had to take several days documenting everything, what I ate, how much insulin I took, and so on. Oh, and when exactly did I do it and how did it affect me. At the recommendation of my nurse educator, I also added protein powder to my diet to balance out the carbs better. And beans. I had forgotten that since I don't eat meat, I really need beans. And that, together with my research has helped a lot. 

Feeling much better. Will catch up with all of you in the coming days.

My dining area. More or less finished.


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