Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Taking A Break



I will be taking a break from blogging for a while.  


I hope there will be a way for kids to have a happy Halloween.

And for grownups to have a peaceful election.

Take care and stay well.









Monday, October 19, 2020

The Joy Of Coloring ~ Post No. 5

 


I'm doing well, but friends and relatives I love are going through difficult times. 

I've been feeling sad, sort of helpless, because of course I can't really help. I'm finding it difficult to snap out of this.

But I know that finding ways to be creative always helps me get to a happier frame of mind. 

I like colors and a few years ago, my friend Judy gave me the most gorgeous coloring books with Scandinavian motifs. 

I hadn't colored since I was a child. Once I started, I seemed to have knack for it. I certainly enjoy it.   

So when I need to cheer myself up, I bring out my coloring book. I'm still on the first one, a favorite. 

Pretty soon, I'm smiling again.

I finished the ram a while back and right now I'm coloring a rabbit and its environment in different shades of blue.

Thank you, Judy, for gifting me all this fun, something I would never have thought to do for myself.










Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Morning Reflections

 


There is a harmony

In autumn, and a lustre in its sky...

~Percy Bysshe Shelley






 

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 11 ~ Samson

This posted by mistake on the 14th. With this new blog format, you have to be so careful. Since I had a cute post up about Faith pondering a dog's life, I reverted to it on the 14th and changed Samson's post to today. Sorry about this.

I found all these old pictures of Samson and posted them here. Then, as I started to write about him, this wonderful dog of mine, I started to cry. Not just tear up, but cry. 

I was dumbfounded, why was I having this tearful reaction? I was quiet for a while and then I knew. I'm on some deep level worried he may die. Samson will be twelve next July, a time when most of my dogs either passed on or began a downhill slide. Additionally, Samson has never been a 100% healthy dog and has been on steroid medicine, both orally and for his eye drops for most of his life. 

Then I realized that because Faith is so in my face all the time, needs all my attention, is the "good" and ever so obedient dog, she gets all the praise, while I tend to nag at Samson's stubborn behavior. 

I'm glad I had this insight, because from now on, for the rest of this kindest, sweetest, most self-less, most patient, most -- everything good dog's life, I will shower him with love and attention. 

He will also defend me. Once when I told a trespassing, meth addicted, woman to not climb over my fences and she screamed at me and made threatening gestures, Samson lunged at her and had he not been on leash would have taken her on, he left no doubt about that. He will defend me.

(In the comments made on the 14th, Sandi wondered about the meth.  The incident with Samson and the woman happened about nine years ago. A house up in the mountains was rented to people right out of Breaking Bad. This woman had no car, so she had to walk/hitch hike to town. Walking across our land was a huge shortcut. These people are long gone, so everything is calm and peaceful around here now.)

That said, instead of writing about his life, a life many of you have followed over the years on my blog, why don't you look at him below and, hopefully, he will make you smile. 






















I love you my sweet boy.

So very much.







Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wonder Dog Ponders A Dog's Life

In the middle of the morning, apparently a post about Samson popped up and squeezed out this one by Faith. She did not take that lightly and insists that I leave this one up until Friday. Sorry about the confusion, this new system -- one has to be so very careful.



Faith: It sure gets boring in here with mommy watching on her Kindle Fire, paying me no attention whatsoever. Not even a pet, or a pat, not sure how that one goes. 

Boring........


I may as well start to clean my paws. Which reminds me, I'm supposed to be on my blankie, but I don't see it, I'll just stay here until she complains. 


Good thing mommy doesn't know where my paws have been.


I'm licking so loud, almost slurping to get some attention. But no, she hasn't even told me I'm not allowed to groom in the bed.


And stay on my side of the bed. Yes, I know that one, my English is very good. Mommy says: Go to your side of the bed, and off I go. Usually there's my blankie there, but no, it's missing today. 


I wonder if humans ever realize how boring a dog's life can be. 


Just thinking about it makes me yawn. 


This is my sleepy look. 


Good night everyone.

I will dream of my mommy when she was  young and strong. I will dream about us chasing each other in the fields, play hide and go seek in the woods, I will dream of her throwing me my ball at least 50 times and how I will run and run to fetch like I did when I was a young pup.

One thing I know for sure:  I love her and she loves me. 

I'm her helper, her best friend, her companion, and sometimes she calls me her Wonder Dog. 

And being a Wonder Dog is a very good thing to be.






Monday, October 12, 2020

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I get to nag a bit about something I see as so very important. Mammograms. Here again is my story, a small part of it, and a reminder:

I didn't feel a lump or anything unusual when I had my mammogram back in 1999. But something was wrong and the mammogram picked it up. 

The cancer was stage 1 or 2, I don't remember. Because it was caught so early, I didn't need chemo which was a huge relief. But a lumpectomy, 14 lymph nodes removed, and then seven weeks of radiation therapy was not easy, nor were the five years on the drug Tamoxifen that followed.

None of this was easy, but it wasn't all that difficult either. 

I was treated at the UCLA Medical Center and I decided to attend a support group for cancer patients, offered by the hospital. It was led by a remarkable woman, a three-time survivor of a very deadly cancer. As I sat at the table and looked at the other women in the group, I knew I was the healthiest, I knew many of them would not survive for long. Knowing this was not easy, but it gave me a new perspective on life and death. A lesson, not sought out, but still a lesson well worth learning.

Life is precious. I am thankful for each day. I remind myself of this every morning in a prayer of gratitude.

I was 59 years old at the time.

In the end, my cancer episode was no more than a pebble on the road of my life. 

Who knows what would have happened had I decided to skip my mammogram just that one time, wait until the following year, wait maybe six months, since I was so busy. 




This year, mine was due in March, at a time when little was known about the pandemic. It was with great trepidation I set out for our local hospital. Once there, I found everything perfectly set up to keep me and other patients safe. 

So I got it done. 

This year, I worry that women may not go because of covid-19. I know I was worried even though I live in a small town with a brand new Adventist Health hospital. I decided to make my appointment first thing in the morning. It worked out well and everything was very safe. 

All that to say, I hope every woman who needs to get this done will find a way, even in the midst of this covid crisis.













Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Morning Reflections

 


Another fall, another turned page

~Wallace Stegner


How great to find a quote by the author of one of my all time favorite books, Angle of Repose. This book about the American West, so beautifully written, so full of insights, must rate as one of the great American novels of all time. 









Thursday, October 8, 2020

Fat Bear Tuesday, 10/8 Wednesday, And Daily Exercise

 


Jeanne helped upload my insulin pump data to my doctor's office the other day. I could do this myself, but my Chromebook will not allow me. Much as I like it, I'm finding out why it costs less than other laptops of similar size.

While I waited in the Jeep, I took some pictures of her canyon views. Then I watched one of her cats busy with something at one end of the yard and a bird busy with something else under a tree at the other end. Unaware of each other.


Fat Bear Tuesday arrived in Katmai National Park in Alaska and the Fat Bear Champion was crowned yesterday. Last year's runner-up, Bear 747 is the new Champion, beating his challenger, Chunky. I mentioned this competition in an earlier post and the fact that The Washington Post delights in covering it every year, thus taking a break from all the rest it covers so diligently. Who can blame them?

Then today arrived, finally! What's so special about it you may ask? I know it's fuzzy, but can you see the temperatures? They went from 82 yesterday to a projected 74 today, the first day this fall with temps in the 70s. 


As the years go by, I'm becoming more and more heat intolerant. By now I can't stand summer here. If it's in the 90s, even dry heat is hot and way too hot for me.

Some years back, I set up a 100 day period that I knew would be uncomfortable for me, July 1 - October 8. And this year, October 8 is coming through for me with the first high in the 70s forecast for this fall here in our mountains. 


Errol and his brother Glenn were partners in a construction business. Homeowners would often decide to get rid of old stuff while they had contractors and their workers there to cart it off. That's how I got this old stationary bike that still works. 

My friend Carol told me her ankles were getting weak and since my legs are a mess, I suggested we motivate each other and bike, at least once a day on our stationary bikes. Since then I've kept it up most days. I'm beginning to feel a difference.

Here's another view from Jeanne's house.







Tuesday, October 6, 2020

My Photo Goes On A Joy Ride

 


One day, several years ago now, I got an email from this guy named Robert Strickland. He wanted to know if he could use a  picture he saw on my blog for a CD cover. His band was coming out with a new CD called Joy Ride and he felt my photo would be just right for the cover.

When I took the picture, Errol and I were most likely not on a  joy ride, but on our way to see some doctor in Bakersfield. But it's true, I always tried to make an adventure out of our trips down the mountain.

I wrote back and told Robert Strickland that of course he could use the picture, as long as I got photo credit for it. He agreed to this, used my photo, mentioned my name on the reverse side of the cover, and sent it to me with the CD inside. 

This was a fun and totally unexpected experience. Goes to show that you never know what life may bring.

I had forgotten about this CD and never posted about it on my blog. When it popped up in my old photos, I decided to post the story now.

Then I checked to see if the CD was for sale on Amazon and there it was. 


Seeing my photo on a cover that many people bought, evoked an interesting feeling of, could it be pride? 

This was just a snapshot, after all. It required absolutely nothing other than looking down the road and clicking a button. 

I thought about this for a while. I thought about people who are incredibly accomplished. I wondered how they may feel when, say a book gets picked up by a publishing house, or a painting is displayed in a museum. 

Then I got it: What I felt thinking about my effortless CD cover, out there traveling the world, was just another kind of Joy Ride. 

The CD came out in 2014, I haven't thought about it since then, as you know, my life was turned upside down and I had other things to think about. 

And now that it popped up in my old photos and I checked it out online, I felt joyful. I had fun writing this post.

Oh, and then I went looking for my CD, I wanted to play it now that I have my new CD player. 

I couldn't find it anywhere!


 



















Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday Morning Reflections

 

I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.

~Henry David Thoreau



I have mostly stayed here in my house since March and Thoreau's words helped me remember that in addition to the dogs, there's a whole world right outside my front door: Ants, mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, coyotes, ravens and hundreds of other birds and critters.

And the sun and moon and stars have been my companions here all these long months. 

So I am not alone, I am a small part of something: The sun and the moon and the stars. In my little world all to myself.


 






Friday, October 2, 2020

The Joy Of Coloring ~ Post No. 4


Before we get to the bears, I want to thank you for your kind and caring comments on my posts about Errol and also about Soldier. I haven't visited any blogs, I've been tired, fed up with the continuing hot weather and smoky skies, worried that neither I nor the dogs can go for our walks. 

The weather person at the Bakersfield station said we would have "sunshine mixed with smoke." 

So there it is, I will do better, I care.



In honor of Fat Bear Week in Alaska's Katmai national park. 

Adult male brown bears in Katmai are among the largest in the world and each year there's competition for the title of Fat Bear. Actually a female bear, named Holly, won in 2019.

The public votes and voting to determine the winner for the most portly brown bear of 2020 is taking place right now, culminating in Fat Bear Tuesday on October 6.



I got this information from the Washington Post. They get involved in this contest each year, and so do I. I believe the Post feels we need a break every now and then from all that's going on and I couldn't agree more. There are lots of pictures of some very, very fat bears in their latest edition. Which lives on my Kindle Fire.









Monday, September 28, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 10 ~ Soldier

 


Errol was still working in LA after I moved up here with the dogs in 2006. One day in 2007, a realtor friend of his asked him to check some electric problem for a woman who was moving to Florida and was selling her house. Errol noticed a dog tied to a dog house in the yard, so after he checked the woman's electric, he asked what she was going to do with the dog. She told him the dog would go to the pound. Errol said, wait, maybe I can take him and started to walk toward the dog. 


The woman yelled, "don't go up to him, he hates men, he will bite you!" Errol shook his head (I imagine that's what he did) and proceeded toward the dog. Of course the dog fell in love at first sight. The woman told Errol the dog's name was Soldier, and said good bye to her dog. 


Later he came up here to stay with me, Angel and Princess. He was a lovely dog. I could tell he had a troubled past, but was still pretty well adjusted, except for his intense dislike of men. He got along well with the lady dogs, particularly Angel. He would go to sleep on top of her, so crazy about her. 


I couldn't find those pictures, they are somewhere on this blog, I'm sure. But here he is on his bed. And, as you can see, Soldier could sleep.


Samson started to come up here with Errol to visit in the fall of 2009. As long as he was a baby, there were no problems.



But as Samson grew up and the macho hormones began to affect his behavior, he beat up Soldier really badly. You can see how much Soldier is hurting in this picture. Samson calmed down as soon as we had him neutered, but Soldier was injured so badly we thought we had to put him down. We took him to our vet, who had never met him before. We told him Soldier was male aggressive, so he agreed to meet us outside. It was snowing, we walked Soldier around, the vet tried to touch him, no luck with that. So he prescribed pain medicine and suggested we get a harness for support and to help Soldier get up.


I must have mentioned this on my blog, because Terry, a blogger friend in Colorado, had just lost her old dog and had a harness that she offered to send to Soldier. I love how kind and supportive our blogger friends are. As it turned out, the harness was the perfect solution and it helped Soldier get well.


Whenever one of my girlfriends came to visit and sat down on my couch, before you knew it, there was Soldier in her lap. He just loved women, his world would have been perfect if all the men just went away. He never did anything, didn't even growl, but you could feel his distrust.  


We went on many hikes with our dogs, back then. After Bandit was lost and later found in the hills, we kept Soldier on a leash, but he was an escape artist and would be so funny. He would twist out of his collar and run away down the path that goes at the top of our land. He would run away at a great speed and be gone maybe five minutes, then he'd come back, tired, tongue out, panting. He did this so often, we stopped worrying about him. 

It was obvious that Soldier knew he'd found a good home and wasn't going anywhere, just having a fun run and a bit of an adventure.


It didn't take me long to fall in love with this dog, he became my boy and he loved me so. He was seven when he came to us, and thirteen when he died, one evening in 2013. I was heartbroken, he was my boy, I felt he needed me so much and I responded to that. 


I loved him so, he will forever be my boy. I think about him often and I've had a bit of a difficult time writing about him here.

 







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