Thursday, May 28, 2020

Taking A Break

I want my blog to be a happy place about life in the country, cows visiting, wild critters coming by, young ones coming out into the world from coyote pups to twenty some California quail babies crossing my road. Happy walks with happy dogs and, in general, for me -- being at peace with the world.

Then this thing happens again, a black man murdered in plain sight by police, in Minneapolis this time. Then something else happens in Central Park. And here on our California beaches -- I see a teenager on TV telling me, and the rest of the vulnerable population, to stay home if we have a problem with him not wearing a mask. 

Then the riots, just as bad, burning down innocent people's businesses. I witnessed this first-hand in Los Angeles, it leads to no good whatsoever. But people are angry and people feel powerless.

So I will see you in a couple of weeks. After all, I have the most fun dog ever to write about for the month of June. And I have a big birthday to celebrate. 

 "A change is gonna come," sang Sam Cooke so many years ago.

And almost 60 years later, still waiting.......

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Rust ~ Post No. 31

After we bought this house, Errol spent part of a year fixing the inside, cleaning, remodeling, painting, and so on, while I finished up my work at UCLA. 

Then in September 2006, I moved here and Errol went back to Los Angeles to continue to work for several more years. He was six years younger than I and wanted to work until at least he was at least 65. 

So here I was, lots of things needed to be done outside and all our tools and our wheelbarrow were in Los Angeles. When I discovered this rusty old thing, I sort of fell for it. And I used it for a couple of years. 

This year, I made it part of my yard art display. You have now seen the three individual parts - a picture of the full display will follow in another post. 

And then I found the cutest rusty thing on one of my fence posts. That will follow soon too. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Highlights Of My Week - Are

A trip to the post office to pick up my mail and another to the Disposal Site (as the sign I passed today said) AKA the Dump!

On my way to town, I passed field after field of yellow flowers or as I call them in my yard - weeds.

 No matter what you call them, they were so lovely I had to stop and take some pictures.

On my way back home, I had a fun experience while stopped at the railroad crossing - two trains passed each other right there, one going west, the other east. Hooting at each other as they passed. I enjoyed myself taking pictures while waiting for the trains to pass. 

This railroad crossing is located by the cement plant. One cold and windy January day a couple of years ago, our CERT leaders made arrangements for us, the team members, to tour the plant. We were all the way up in that building you see to the far left. We actually toured most of the plant and listened to a lecture of how cement is processed there.

When I arrived back home and parked the car, these deep green plants surrounding the red rock caught my eye. I see this arrangement every day, of course, without paying much attention to it. Today I thought it looked pretty so I took a picture. 

Then, before I went inside, I took a picture of the tall weeds that will be cut back soon. The picture didn't come out well so I tried to fix it up a bit, without much success. These weeds are really, really tall and, as you can see, drying up and turning brown. 

Photo bomber Samson

Retriever Faith with her ever present ball - until she loses it. Usually under the couch, making her mommy crawl on all fours retrieving it for her.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Rust ~ Post No. 30

This is one of hundreds of items we found all over our property when we first moved here.  

I don't know what it is or what it was used for. It's very small, I think it has an engine in it. It's also very heavy. Would a child use it? 

I kept it because it's unusual and now I have found a place for it. It's one of three items that Mark and Ronica helped me move to create a yard art display in my back yard.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 6 ~ Saschi

I heard this story from Errol and Glenn: 

Errol, Glenn and one or two other guys were on a lunch break somewhere in South Los Angeles, maybe not in the best of neighborhoods. Dogs can be found running loose there, sometimes strays, other times lost, or perhaps just let out by their owners to run around for a while. Tough dogs who know how to get back home.

As they drove down Figueroa Street, or some other wide street with several lanes of traffic, they noticed a dog making attempts to cross. A dangerous endeavor, so Errol stopped the van, got out and led the dog across the many lanes of traffic. 

Then they drove to some nearby burger place, got their food and sat in the van and ate with the sliding side door open. Suddenly, a familiar furry face appeared in the doorway. The same dog had somehow found them. She was thin, beat up, and very hungry. Of course she got some burger and later that day, Errol brought her home.

He named her something with a spin on South Central Los Angeles, I forget what, but it was shortened to Saschi. 

She turned out to be a lovely dog, independent, self-contained, self-reliant, and kind.

Saschi was a Siberian Husky and maybe something else as she was very large. She was injured when she came to us. She had probably been in a dog fight. She was also very thin and malnourished. After some vet care and some good food, Saschi was never thin again. 

She lived with us in Pasadena until we sold that house and moved to Errol's house in Los Angeles. She was about five years old when she arrived. She was a good and calm influence on our troubled Doberman, Sundance. 

Saschi was a sort of background dog, a dog who didn't make any demands on your time. She was healthy all of her long life, but got arthritis as she aged. Again, her breed was not ideal for city life, she needed to run, she needed cold air and I felt bad for her. But what she needed most of all was love and care and that she got. And you could tell she was grateful for it. She was such a kind and loving dog. 

She lived to be sixteen years old. She lived longer than any of our other dogs. Her arthritis got worse as she aged and one night she let out a horrible sound, like a scream. Her pain meds apparently didn't work. I looked at her and I knew. She was old, she was tired, she hurt from her arthritis. She gave me this look of I have lived a good life, I have loved and been loved, now I'm tired. 

I've never forgotten that look, she told me she was done. In the morning, I told Errol I would take her to our vet in Altadena and he helped me get her in the van. It was a long drive, I talked to her, told her how much I loved her, and what a very good dog she had always been. Saschi was the first dog I stayed with and held close as she left this life. This was my first time watching someone I loved die. I have never faltered since. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

How Are We And What Are We Doing

to amuse ourselves, me and my dogs?

I've been taking some pictures. I particularly like this one and would like to make it the header picture on this blog. 

But since I can't figure out how to do that on this Chrome Book....

I did it before, I posted the one that's up there now, but I forget how I did it. 

My Chrome book doesn't work well for me as far as my photographs go. Other than that, I really like it. 

We are doing well, I'm down to my last roll of toilet paper, but I have a lot of tissues, so should be OK. If my septic tank can handle them. TP, at an inflated price, is supposed to be on its way from Amazon, but has been delayed. Or has it? I've ordered so much stuff recently, I can't keep track. 

A big box of oatmeal arrived yesterday from Amazon. I must have ordered it a long time ago. And lost track of the fact it hadn't arrived yet. So a nice surprise.

My rationing of many common household items it going well. I'm enjoying the challenge. 

I finished another challenge too. An 800-plus biography of Frederick Douglass. I will admit to cheating a bit -- in the way too boring parts of the book. A lot of it was interesting, just a bit too long for me. 

 I picked a small bouquet from my lilac bush. 

The annual weeds have gone ballistic in my yard. They are much higher than this now. And drying out. Mark is coming this week to cut them down, borrowing Joyce's tractor. The weeds must be gone by by June 1. By law, or you get fined. This is to reduce the fire risk, so I'm anxious to get it done.

Because of the tall weeds and one rattlesnake visit already, Faith is missing her ball runs. She has her Northern Pacific rattlesnake vaccine, which will be fully effective in a week. I tell her that after uncle Mark cuts the weeds, we will play again. Not sure she believes me. 

We've been on a few walks, not nearly enough for our health. 

After Jeanne got so many veggies for me, I spent a morning making smoothies. So at least I have done something good for my health. I sent this picture to Kathy, my dietitian, who has also become a friend. She was delighted!

Full alert! Big critters in the yard!

The grass is always greener says Joyce's herd, and we love the shade under your trees. 

I'm so saddened by all the illness and all the deaths caused by covid-19. I know we all are. I never thought I would live to see something as devastating as this virus. 

I have been coloring more and it helps to calm me. I've also watched the entire BBC TV series, from about 10 years ago, that I love and bought on DVD, called Lark Rise to Candleford. It's set in Oxfordshire, England around 1895 or so. I find it calming as well. 

My Type 1 diabetes does not exactly help me to be a calm person, with both sugar levels and insulin levels going this way and that, up and down, in the most unexpected ways some days. 

So I need to provide for myself all the help I can to keep calm, be happy and at peace. By now, I'm pretty good at it.

I hope all you moms had a great Mother's Day. Belated greetings for it. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Joy Of Coloring ~ Post No. 1

Some years ago now, my friend Judy gave me a beautiful coloring book with Scandinavian motifs. She actually gave me several, but there was one that spoke to me and I began to color.

As I colored the drawings, I realized that the quality of the pencils were of the utmost importance. I believe the ones Judy gave me came from Barnes & Noble and I don't think you could find a better set. 

I have taken it up again and I'm right now working on a beautiful ram. I hope I can do him justice. I hope I'm doing all of them justice because the drawings are excellent. 

I would recommend this very peaceful activity in times of trouble, like right now. You don't have to be good at drawing since that's already done, all you have to do is pick your colors and try to stay within the lines. 


Thank you for your kind comments on the story I wrote when I was eight. I was a good kid, I respected my parents and believed they were right when they warned me about things. I believe this has helped me navigate my life safely. Being cautious while having adventures. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

For Jane ~ My First Short Story ~ 1948

Jane and I recently talked about - wrote about in emails - my interest in writing, in storytelling. I told her about this, probably my very first short story. I knew I had posted it on my blog a long time ago, so the other day I went looking for it. 

I wrote this story in 1948, when I was eight. Most of the stories I wrote as a child, have to do with exploration, going far away, or in this instance wanting to go deep into the forest. Most kids probably love the idea of stretching their wings, exploring, dreaming of what lies ahead

Many of the fairy tales at that time had to do with going too far into the forest, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, and so on. Reading this, it looks like I had learned that this was not a good idea. I can also see the kind of child I was. I never wanted to make my parents worried. 

I'm smiling as I read it again and find I had no idea that periods are a good for clarity and understanding. 

I like that, at the end of the story, I actually wrote - The End - My initials, IB - And the year - 1948.

Little Lisa Little Anna

Little Lisa lived in a little red house by the edge of the forest. Anna was her best friend, she lived in a small cottage a bit into the forest. Anna and Lisa wanted to go a bit further into the forest, but their mommies and daddies didn't want them to go very far into the forest because there could be very dangerous animals there that they perhaps would think were kind and perhaps they wouldn't come home to mommy and daddy and think how sad that would be if the little girls didn't come home in time for dinner and think if Lisa and Anna would never see mommy and daddy again.

The End. -- IB 1948.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Country Morning

I took a selfie the other day to send to Joyce to show her how nice her Christmas present shirt looks. It came out a bit fuzzy, but at my age, that's not a problem. 

Samson has stomach problems often and he's getting old, so when he does number 2, he sort of walks around and it drips. Mark put up this barrier between the dog run and where I sit on my patio and my space has been clean ever since. 

I always loved to sit in this chair on Joyce's veranda, so one day she just gave it to me. Months later, I after I told her how nice my space on the patio is turning out, I mentioned that all I need now is a little table. So, yes, she had one she didn't need and insisted I take it. 

I feel so blessed to have a neighbor like Joyce, helpers like Mark and Ronica, and friends here in the canyon, like Jeanne, who this past week called in a large order of a lot of veggies, fruit, and berries and some other things to one of our grocery stores and then picked it up and delivered it to me

I thought my table needed something on it that the dogs couldn't knock off and break. So I decorated with some rocks. I love to sit out here and have my morning coffee. Afternoon coffee too, fika, as we call it in Sweden. Maybe I should say "they" call it, since I haven't been there for 15 years now.

When Samson comes over to get petted or to interact with me, there's Faith in-between. She rushes over at top speed and muscles her way to get closest to me. This never fails. It's just the kind of dog she is, I've never known another one like her. Lucky for her that Samson is such a kind and patient dog.

Yesterday morning, I drove up to Joyce's barnyard to see the new baby calf. The calf and her mom were in one of the barn-sheds. So I didn't see her. Instead two of the horses came over, looking for a treat. I didn't have any treats, just a lot of pets on their pretty faces and soft muzzles. 

While I was talking to Joyce, her herd showed up and began to work on the weeds in front of her house.

This is the big bull, papa to all the young ones. Except one, which we believe was fathered by the Guernsey bull. Her milk is so different from these, American Milking Devon cows, so much richer and creamier. 

When I came home, I saw something in my lilac bush and drove over to check it out. And there were blooms. This bush didn't bloom at all during the five or six years of our drought. Then, last year, it did and now it's blooming again. I quickly picked a few branches with flowers and drove back up to Joyce's place and gave them to her. 

In my kitchen I was greeted by a cute little house finch sitting outside my window for the longest time, looking straight back at me. They come back every year and I love to listen to them twittering away, happily.


Related Posts with Thumbnails