Thursday, April 30, 2020

Rust ~ Post No. 29

One day last year, Ronica climbed over lots of rusty items in one of my sheds and squealed with joy as she discovered two old bikes like this one and a small unicycle.

I could see how much she liked her finds, so I kept this bike and gave her the other one and the unicycle. Both she and Mark are into yard art and have convinced me to create a small display area in my backyard.

Only three items in it with my husbands old cement mixer in the background. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Someone Has A Birthday!

Happy 6th Birthday, Dear Faith

Happy Birthday To You!

Me: Little girl Blue, I love you -- so very much. Today you are six years old. You spend much of your time worrying about me, always there for me, always so sensitive to my needs. 

You almost never leave my side.

You are loving, protective, intelligent, and a very interesting dog. You are self-confident and cautious at the same time.  

You are scared of flying insects.

You love to chase rabbits and they always fool you. You chase ravens who take you far afield. Chirping ground squirrels drive you nuts.

You get hyper excited, you run like the wind, you fly across the land. 

You love to chase your orange ball more than anything.

You also love to mess with Samson. And you always have to be first

You understand English better than any dog I've ever known.

I often find you deep in thought.

I love you very much. Happy Birthday!

Faith: How many balls do I get?

Sunday, April 26, 2020


goes on and I'm fine. After a cold, windy and overcast spring the sun came out the day after I posted about Errol. In the summer, I get very tired of the constant sunshine here, but I must admit I welcomed how it warmed my spirit.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on that post. 

Errol was in ICU from February 14 to April 22nd that year. One hundred miles from home, part of the drive on the worst LA freeway ever. I drove it about three times a week. 

I don't quite understand why I begin to think back as soon as April arrives. I've now done this for five years. Writing a little piece to honor my husband helps every year. Thanks for reading it and for caring.

Then things go back to normal. 


Last year, I didn't see a single snake here. This never happened before.

Yesterday, Samson came in the house and approached me. I petted him, thinking he needed some human company

Then I heard Faith barking an unfamiliar bark. That insecure bark a dog lets out when it is unsure about something. I knew what it was and rushed outside in the dog run. I yelled, "SNAKE BAD" several time as I told Faith to go in the house. 

This may seem like a strange way to condition a dog, but Faith has a memory for human vocabulary like no other dog I've ever known. 

That, and the fact she knew this was something unusual, maybe dangerous, was a good beginning. Evidently Samson knew this as well. 

After both dogs were in the house, I went to the fence to look over it to see if I could see the snake. I turned my head, this way and that, but didn't see a thing. Thinking I was mistaken, I stepped back. And there it was, stretched out on one of the wood bars of the fence. I had almost leaned against it.

It was on one of the bars of my fence. 

It was a rattle snake. It was small. In my somewhat younger days, when I could move better, if  a rattle snake came too close to my dogs or our house, I would put on my boots, pick it up with my flat shovel and take it across my field and let it loose. I would go pretty far away. Sometimes they would fall off the shovel, but I always managed. 

I haven't had to do this for many years. 

This one came at the wrong time, I was exhausted, my legs were shaky, it was late, I'm older now. The snake was too small to just leave on the other side of the fence and not worry about it coming back. Making it in through the small holes in the snake protection mesh Errol put up. 

So I killed it and put it out for the ravens to eat. 

I feel terrible about it, but it was a rattle snake, it could have bitten Faith or me. Or maybe it was too young to bite, I thought afterwards. This didn't make me feel any better. 

So life goes one, the sun shines, it's 80 degrees all of a sudden, and tomorrow I will take Faith to the vet for her rattle snake vaccine. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Five Years

Last year, on this 22nd day of April, I wrote something beautiful for you. I still feel the same, nothing has changed. 

I have missed you more this past year than before. I have grieved, I have really, really missed you. 

At first, after you died, I felt so incredibly sorry for you. Your plans and dreams that would never be realized. The dog you would never see grow up. I know why you named her Faith.

Then I made myself busy, working hard at not being miserable. 

Not realizing that grieving is something we must go through, those of us who are fortunate to find someone to love, someone who loves us, someone we get to spend many years with. 

Someone who leaves us before we ever thought they would.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

What A Fabulous Show

One World Together At Home snapped me out of my feelings of loneliness and a sort of helplessness. 

Your comments helped too, thank you.

The show helped me see that even if I can't help anyone else, in a meaningful way, I'm still self-reliant. I understood from day one the importance of sheltering in place, of staying home.

I understood by staying healthy, I would free up a hospital bed, an ICU bed most likely, and I would free up doctors, nurses, maybe even funeral directors and others on the front line to help someone else.

But then I got angry and sort of lost the meaning of what I was doing because others were not doing it, others were being selfish and out demonstrating for opening their states. 

This being supported in tweets by the man in the WH.

I, and all the rest of you who shelter in place, were among those thanked by this show.  We are helping. It felt so good to hear that.

Then I was extremely angry after reading that our president decided to stop America's contributions to the World Health Organization. 

In the midst of a pandemic!

It's not like it's his money! Can he really do that? I hate being angry, so tired of it.

Granted the WHO was not perfect, but then who would be with something so completely new.

Then comes this show, organized by Global Citizen in support of the World Health Organization's covid-19 pandemic response.  

That alone lifted my spirits. Acknowledging the WHO in such a grand way, right after what the president said he would do. 

As it should, the show primarily honored the people who serve the world on the front lines of this pandemic. But it also acknowledged all of us who stay at home. And the homeless, who cannot shelter in place or anywhere.

And then there was the music, including some of my favorite songs ever: Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come, performed by Lizzo; Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World, with Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes; Stevie Wonder sang Lean on Me; and one of the best, John Legend and Sam Smith's version of Stand By Me. And these were just a few.

The show signed off with that old collaboration of The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, this time to include Lady Gaga and John Legend.

If you didn't see the show, I hope you will find it streaming somewhere and see it.

Everyone involved showed us what leadership looks like in a time of crisis.

Thank You

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Waiting For The Phone To Ring

Jeanne made this mask for me. It's professionally done and even has a filter in it. Lovely colors that fit me, with a little bit of a forest motif. It will be the one I wear when I go "out." I'm grateful.


Home alone ~ Piece of cake thought I when the mandate was announced. After all, I'm home alone most of the time as it is.

I like to be by myself, but what a difference it makes when you can't mix it up with being among your friends. 

Or other human beings -- people you don't know.

People you know a little, say hello to, chat with for a while.

People in the grocery store. People at the bank. Your doctor, dentist, vet, and the staff at all these places. People that are a part of your life. 

We are all a part of each other. I don't know how to phrase this, so I will quote John Donne, When the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

I more fully understand this now.


I have never been a fan of shopping. Browsing bookstores, when there was such a thing, I enjoyed. As well as the occasional antique or thrift store. Now, I miss shopping for groceries most of all.

I have some secrets when it comes to shopping. If someone were to go shopping for me, I couldn't ask them to go to my special store, the only place to find my special chocolates. My one weakness, my diabetes team knows, they are OK with it, since I'm doing well.

I can order online and pick up at Walmart, but they only have about half of what I need in groceries. 

How do I find the special baby carrots the dogs like? 

Why aren't there any Alpo treats online? The only inexpensive treats Samson can tolerate. Tractor Supply has them, but I'm not supposed to go there.

I miss my Icelandic yogurts. Jeanne told me Albertsons, where these wonderful yogurts can be found, has an app you can place your order on and then pick up at the store by appointment. I may try it later.

For now, I have ordered several things from Amazon. They are coming separately, mixed together. Yesterday my first package arrived. I didn't order through their pantry, so it will be just like Christmas when all the rest arrives. I can't remember most of what I ordered now.


Then I found myself waiting for the phone to ring. Well, mine doesn't ring, of course, it plays a pretty melody. 

I caught myself feeling like the teenager I once was, waiting for a call from someone I had a crush on. Anxiously waiting since there were no answering machines back then, no record of who had called, nothing. If you didn't get to the phone in time, you were out of luck. 

Then you'd run into the guy somewhere and he'd say, "I called you, but no one answered. I called twice."

After catching myself waiting for the phone to ring, for  a friend to call, I smiled. 

Phones work both ways, after all.


I didn't plan to write this post. But I know one thing, when I feel a bit down, this old Swedish proverb proves to be true for me:

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

Thanks for listening, have a wonderful rest of the day. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 5 ~ Sundance

Then came the dog that became a bone of contention between Errol and myself, changed our sleeping arrangements for nights on end, and just about broke my heart. After we brought him home, Errol saw him moving in the sunlight and named him Sundance. I agreed, it was a lovely and unusual name. 

This is his story:

After about a year without a dog, our vet told us he knew of  young male Doberman Pinscher in need of a home. The dog had been hit by a car and was boarded in a different vet hospital. The accident had been very bad and the dog had been there for five months and was by now fully recovered.

We later drove to the other vet office,  saw the dog, a large, reddish-brown Doberman, and decided to take him home. 

It did not go well. 

I remember coming home from work that first week. Errol was home and upset. No dog. I asked where Sundance was and Errol told me, under the house. I can't get him to come out! I immediately went outside, bent down to look into the crawlspace under the house, saw the dog, called him and he came immediately. Errol said he'd turned on the vacuum cleaner and Sundance had bolted.  And refused to come out. 

Now Errol was great with dogs, he loved all of them, took care of them, bathed them, brushed them, walked, hiked and did all the things you are supposed to do to give your dog a good  life. Looking back, he probably had never known a seriously disturbed dog before. I guess he expected to be loved back unconditionally, the way most dogs will love you. Something happened on that first day, I can't explain it, but the trust was broken and never mended. 

Because of the broken relationship between them, Sundance became "my" dog. I understood he was disturbed and  traumatized. I knew he had ran away from home, been hit by a car, had multiple surgeries, sat in a cage for five months, and had then, as he saw it, been accosted by a vacuum cleaner. 

I thought he may have been abused by a male of the human species. Someone who perhaps wanted a less timid, more intimidating Doberman Pinscher. 

I walked with him, I tried to play with him, but he didn't trust enough to play. He was a young dog, a couple of years old, perhaps. He liked our cats, Samantha and Sindbad. He lived through the Northridge earthquake with us. Once Errol brought home Saschi from South LA, Sundance was a happy boy. The two of them got along really well. 


Then Errol found Bandit, an abandoned male hound dog mix. It soon became clear that the two male dogs would not get along. As Bandit grew up, he attacked Sundance a few times. He was only half Sundance's size, but knew a victim when he saw one. 

Both Errol and I were busy working and, before my insulin pump, I was pretty sick with my type 1 diabetes, so we didn't have much time to deal with traumas.  While we were at work, we kept the dogs separated. And for long periods, Sundance would sleep with me and Bandit with Errol in the second bedroom. Not a good way to live. 

When Sundance was about eleven years old, he ran out on our front porch and slipped. We took him to the vet and learned that it was serious injury to his knee. It would require surgery and a long recovery time. We both felt that we couldn't put him through any more trauma with surgery, recovery, his age, Bandit and all that it entailed. 

He was my dog, I loved him so much, but I knew this was for the best.

Thinking back, Sundance had so many kind people come to his rescue. After he was hit by a car, some kind soul took him to the vet. The the vet then saved Sundance's life, performed surgeries, several surgeries. He kept Sundance in his office, separate from the sick dogs in the hospital. He never got paid a penny. Then he was adopted by us, who wanted only good things for him. Difficult as it was for Sundance to deal with his life, in the end, many kind people showed up for him and many good things came his way. 

I have now, almost 30 years later, learned there are medicines to be had for troubled dogs like Sundance. No one ever told me back then and I didn't think to find out. Still, I know I did my best and I loved him. I think he knew this.

Sundance was definitely the most troubled of our dogs. Years later, Errol would rescue another troubled soul, a dog I so fell in love with. His name was Soldier and he would be my 10th dog. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Samson And The Case Of The Thieving Raven -- A Repost

We all need a little cheering up, I think, so I went looking for some cute dog posts. I think this one may do the trick:

My dogs used to speak and tell stories for many years here on my blog. Then they stopped, probably after losing their daddy. This is a post from 2014, right before Errol was diagnosed with cancer. It's sad/sweet to remember even something as common as going to the grocery store together. But fun to see Samson's concern for an old man being robbed by a raven. He truly is the sweetest dog ever. 


On our way home after taking Samson for his rabies shot, eye check, and pedicure we stop at the grocery store. I wait with Samson in the Wrangler while hubby goes to the store. We sit, bored, watching an old man placing his groceries in the bed of his truck after first slowly and carefully tying the bags to keep the groceries in.

Samson: "Look at that bird, mommy, what's he doing? I think he's gonna steal some of that old man's food!"

Me: " I think you are right, Samson, that's one bold bird."

Samson: "Look at him, he's starting to peck at the man's bag!"

"I'm moving up here, so I can see better. Should I bark at him and try to scare him away, mommy?"

Samson: "Look, look, mommy he got something out of the old man's bag! Now that's not fair. That looked like a poor old man, I know he doesn't want a bird messing with his food! Why are you so slow mommy, you should go over there and tell the old man."

Me: "You know I can't get out fast, Samson, and now the man is backing out. He's leaving."

Samson: " Good, the raven's leaving too, so the old man will have most of his food left when he gets home. Do you think he will be surprised to find his bags open and food stolen?"

Me: "I'm sure he will very surprised, Samson."

Samson, changing the subject: "Mommy, why did those girls at the vet say I was AWESOME?"

Me: "They just thought you were a very handsome dog and such a good and brave boy."

Have a nice day everyone, I hope you enjoyed my raven adventure.

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Dog. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Early Morning Chores Become Highlights Of My Week

Sandra gave me a tip on a face mask that would be so much easier to make and to wear, I add, because no ears are involved. Just cut off a sleeve of a t-shirt and there you are. The most difficult thing for me was to find a t-shirt with a big enough sleeve to fit over my head. 

I wore this as I entered the post office early this morning to get my mail from my P.O. Box.

I saw two people. Both wearing masks.

On my way to the post office, I stopped a the recycle part of the dump and put some of all the cardboard that had accumulated into the proper bins.

It was foggy out, the clouds hung low over the valley. On my way home, I stopped and took this picture. 

Joyce texted me and said she was going to the dump. I know she was asking without words if I needed something to go. I texted back that I did.

Further along on my drive, I saw the cement plant encased in fog and thought it would make an interesting picture. I stopped the car too far away, but look what happened. I love the picture I got of the lamp post in the clouds. I did't even see it when I took the picture.

Also, thanks again to Sandra for your help with the photo uploads. Because I now stop to take pictures again. I hadn't done that for a long time. 

After meeting Joyce and Solange in my backyard and loading up my trash onto Joyce's Ford F-150, I loaded the rest of my cardboard in the Jeep and we all went to the dump.

Back home again, on our messed up road. Charles worked on it yesterday and made a passable way to the side of the huge puddles further down the road. I think even UPS, the last to come down our road when it's a mess, would make it now.

I  stopped in the road to look at the llamas and cows. All with their heads down, munching away. I yelled, "hey, I want to take your picture, look up, will you!" Only the young, white llama did. The old llama is probably hard of hearing and the cows couldn't care less. 

Looking down, I saw some really nice rocks on the ground. All in a grouping. I took this picture and will send it to Joyce to find out if she knows anything about it.

We have both become interested in rocks and rock collecting.

After I got home, Jeanne texted and said she had my face mask ready. I drove down to the mailboxes and met her there. She made a fabulous face mask for me. Her work is impeccable, professional. I will of course take another selfie with it on. Soon.

Have a good day, stay safe. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Amusing Myself

You may laugh, it's OK. I had some fun with this myself.  I found the perfect material for this face mask, antique table napkins. Inherited from my grandmother. My breathing isn't so good, but worked well with this mask. I found to my delight I could open my mouth and just breathe. No one would know my mouth was wide open!

 I don't own a sewing machine, except an antique Singer someone gave my husband, I guess, I don't know where it came from. It's somewhere in the shed. So I folded this the way the Surgeon General recommended on TV. I will work on it some more and put some stitches in by hand. What made me laugh was that it was so difficult to get the ties around my ears. I looked for some elastic, but couldn't find any, so used the things I use for my ponytail when my hair gets too long. I thought -- I have such big ears, it should really be easier to make these things stay.

Then the sun came out. What a difference that made. I get very tired of the constant sunshine during our long, hot summers. 

But after so many days without, I felt immediately cheered up and so much better. So I went outside and took a couple of pictures. 

Hope you are all well and will have a safe and happy Easter Sunday tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Waiting For A Sunshiny Day

It rained and snowed yesterday, today, and, according to the Weather Channel, will do so tomorrow as well. I have three items of yard art that can barely be seen in this picture. Which reminds me they would be perfect for a rust post

A muddy mess, so glad I went to the post office on Tuesday. So glad Joyce got some groceries for me before all this started, and also that came with the last package I ordered for Samson. No more outstanding deliveries, no need to go to the post office. Life is good when you can hunker down and wait for the weather to clear.

It rained so hard for a while that almost half of the dog yard was covered by dirty water. Faith is looking for the ground squirrel, her nemesis, who lives among my rocks. Samson is probably looking for intruders, cars, trucks, UPS and such. Something he gets to bark at and protect me from.

Even Samson is looking fed up with the weather. 

Let us in already!!

So we can mess up the floor some more.

I usually have rugs there to pick up the worst of the mud they drag in, but Samson got over-excited the other day and stepped in his water bowl, which spilled onto the rugs. So I hung them out to dry. Lots of luck with that in this weather. Hopefully, they will be nice and clean once the sun comes out so they can dry.

Hope you are all having a good day. Stay safe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Life In A Time Of Crisis

I thought I would share how I'm coping with staying home alone. 

But I find it difficult to get started. 

When this virus first came here, I was worried about myself. I took some precautions and followed our governor's directions. I have stayed home now since March 15.

As time has gone by, my emotions have been all  over the place. I'm sure your's have too. This virus is novel on so many levels. 

Now, I'm no longer worrying about myself. 

Instead, I'm in awe of the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who risk their lives daily to help those who are so very ill. 

I'm so sorry Bill Withers died right now, when his song is played everywhere: Lean on me.......

Maybe he knew how important it would be, how much we would need to hear it, to play it, to sing it.

I worry about my niece and nephew-in-law, who are both social workers and necessary personnel. Out there, one dealing with children, the other with senior citizens. Difficult work, worthwhile work, and work that takes its toll on their lives. I see that and admire them so for not giving up, for caring, for finding the strength to do what has to be done.

Much more difficult now, with their own children at home, schools being closed. My niece works nights. I can't even imagine.

Home alone, I've been thinking. As we all do when we are alone. My thinking has gone like this:

America entered the second world war and the trajectory of the war changed. America saved Europe and won in the Pacific and the war ended.

When I first came here in the early 1960s, President Kennedy said we will go to the moon. America worked hard toward this goal and by 1969, our astronauts landed on the moon.

Now we can't even find enough face masks?

And, as the weather is getting warmer, beaches are opening again. On TV you see people, so many people, ignoring the pleas from our health experts, out sunning themselves, enjoying life like there's no tomorrow, which of course there may not be for some vulnerable people because of these idiots who just don't care. Sorry about that long sentence. 

Actually, how long is the acceptable length of a sentence in this marvelous English language? Let me know, please.

On my way home from getting my mail at the post office early this morning, I stopped for a train.

Transporting military vehicles, as far as I could see.

There's a certain war-like atmosphere to these pictures, I think. Hopefully from a film, not the real thing. I like the way they came out. 

And I'm so happy Sandra helped me get part 1 of my transfer of pictures to Google. Part 2 would be how to do it from my camera. 

But later for that.

This post doesn't have much to do with staying home alone with dogs. 

I will come up with that one soon. Meanwhile, I hope you all are doing OK and coping well with these necessary mandates -- all for the common good. 

Take care and stay well.


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