Friday, September 17, 2021

An Unkindness Of Ravens

as it's called when ravens gather. And the other week, gather they did. 


I don't know why they decided to hold a conference in my backyard. This time of year, I see the young ones flying in large groups, sort of like teenagers discovering their world. But I've never seen a large group land and stay in one place, like these birds did. 


Taking pictures with my phone doesn't capture what I actually saw. But it made me take out my real camera and dust it off. We'll see what happens with that project.


Ravens are present in the Bible, and in so many mythologies -- Norse, Celtic, Native American and others. In the Bible,  the raven was the first bird Noah sent out to look for land; in the Norse sagas, a raven sat on each of Odin's shoulders; in some Native American tribes, particularly in the North West, the raven is the creator of light; while in other Native American cultures, he's a trickster. 


Ravens are also believed to be harbingers of news, from the cosmos to the battlefield. From the battlefield, they were thought to bring messages of death.


Ravens are also highly intelligent. My neighbor Bob has trained our local couple to sit next to Joyce's dogs. The ravens do this because he rewards them with horse treats, goodies the ravens quickly figured out should not be wasted on horses. 








Sunday, September 5, 2021

Happy Labor Day

 

 

Happy Labor Day Weekend




Friday, September 3, 2021

Cooler Weather Now!



Just a quick note to let you know that the weather has cooled down significantly. It's now in the low 80s.

About those high temperatures I wrote about, I don't know how accurate my thermometer is. I hope to check that some day soon. But hot is hot and it was stinky hot!

Thanks for your comments, I've been busy with paperwork that I don't want to do, but must do. 

I've also suffered with very long wait times on the phone when trying to reach some real people, as opposed to computers trying to sound like people. 

Is that happening to you as well?

But that's in the past. Today, Thursday, has been an absolutely glorious day here in the mountains. Temps in the low 80s, with a nice breeze, sunshine and blue skies. Well blue skies are all we get here, but some days those skies seem prettier than others. 





 






Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Summer's Last Hurrah?

As I write this at 2 pm on Monday, it's 106 in the shade on my patio and 114 at Joyce's house. I hope this is summer's last hurrah as far as heat goes. 

I swear, I will not buy any more stuff until Chrismas! I've just had a need to spoil myself and my dogs, but too much online shopping equals too many cardboard boxes that you then need to dispose of. I'm driving away from the dump's recycle place in the photo, which I took the other day.  


I'm wearing a mask because of the smoke.


 This is our road, Joyce's and mine.


Today, the smoke is better and my mind is on my relatives in New Orleans, Errol's aunt and uncle, now both close to 90 years old. The uncle is suffering with Parkinson's. As hurricane Ida  approached, I'm sure they evacuated to their daughter's house in Houston, but still, at their age. But good they have a place to go. 

I'm supposed to take care of some business relating to my trust today. I need to call a woman in Bakersfield to find out if she will be the backup trustee for my living trust. The trustee is onboard, but a backup is also needed. 

I will do it tomorrow, Tuesday. Even when I'm inside the house with the portable a/c unit blasting cool air, the heat still seems to affect me. Lazy typing for my blog seems to be all I can manage today. 

The other day, sitting in my bed, I had quite the scare: Something was moving under my bed. Something pretty big. Then this head popped out:


Usually, my dogs have just put their heads underneath the bed to escape the heat. I guess Faith figured a whole-body experience would be more beneficial. 









Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

 


Good Morning, Sunshine!













Monday, August 23, 2021

Meet My New "Assistants"


Memory Assistant

 


General Subject Notebook

As I'm ageing, I find that I have no problem remembering things when I pay attention. And I mean not just the kind of attention I got away with in my younger years, but really serious attention. 

But when I don't, I may forget. I've forgotten several small things lately. Not appointments, but the name of a teller at the bank, someone I may need to contact again. This after I specifically asked for her name. I forgot about an e-mail from a friend with some important information, things like that. Nothing major, but still things I should remember. Would always have remembered.  

So, instead of being depressed about these things, I ordered the two notebooks, pictured above. 

Designed by Vera Bradley, one of my favorite purse and tote bag designers, I found these on Amazon. I wanted them to be pretty and cheer me up and her stuff always does. 

Getting old can be scary. So far, I'm not scared, but I don't like the fact that I can't remember things as well as I used to. So now I hope my new little memory assistant will help me.

I don't know how I will use it yet, but it feels like a fun thing to try.

Do I carry it around with me? 

I have to think about that. 

Maybe in time I will, right now I think I'm OK. 

I will use the larger book for various things: Record my blood sugar values when my diabetes goes bonkers. I usually keep records for a day or two and then my sugars usually get back to where they need to be. 

I will use it to note the hours Mark works when he comes to help me, and what I paid him. And for whatever else may come up. I love to have a large notebook to write in. It's so much easier than the smaller ones. 

Looking at their cheerful covers, these two notebooks will always make me smile. 

Thank you, Vera Bradley, you are the best.






Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Morning Reflections

 

As the moon rises over a smoky landscape, it's clear that we are beginning to pay the price for how we have lived our lives. Careless with cars, plastic, air travels, and all the rest. Probably just a small price now, but arriving sooner than we thought. Only to grow in size and consequence in years to come.

Many of us are doing better, some of you are fantastic when it comes to protecting our earth through your daily life actions.

I'm not that good, but I'm a work in progress. 

We should all aim to be at least that.









Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

Uninspired

Feeling about as uninspired as Aretha when she looked out on the morning rain, in one of my favorite songs of the day, I looked through my recent photos to see if I could find something of interest to blog about. 

I recently stopped on my way home and took this picture. Not sure why, I probably liked the tall lamp posts framing the picture. Or just to see what the sun would do.
 
A semi is parked down the road. Love's and that J one, Flying J, have been added to our landscape on the way to town to take care of truckers who need to spend the night. Some still seem to prefer to stay by themselves. I'm sure I would too, if I were one of them.


Then I took this picture, facing north. The railroad tracks go by the side of the road. As you know, I love the trains and having them as a part of my life here.
 

I also love my car, absolutely love it. I still don't take the freeway when I go to town, just the road that goes parallel to it, a 55 mph road. I started out getting about 31 plus miles per gallon and after catching on that I could work on my driving and my car would show me how well I did, I'm now getting 32 plus mpg. I don't remember exactly how much over 32. 

At the end of each drive, you get a score, little stems pop up with leaves, the more leaves the better you did, environmentally. And the screen also lets you know how many miles are left until your tank is empty. I think it starts at 450 miles. This car is so much fun and so amazing. 

I still have a lot to learn. 



For anyone thinking about buying a new car, but not wanting to go fully electric, I strongly recommend getting a hybrid. 

The end of my uninspired post. 

Just kidding, I know I found some inspiration along the way.







Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Conversations With Faith



Me: I bet I know what you want.

Faith: Please.

Me: Oh, Faith, please don't look at me like that.


Faith: I see what's on your feet.

Me: Hiking boots, I know. 

Faith: So are we going hiking?

Me: No, but we'll walk on the road. 

Faith: Yippee!

Me: You sound like a cowboy!

Faith: What's a cowboy, I thought all cows were girls?

Me: They are.


Faith: People are so strange...











Friday, July 23, 2021

Another Puzzle Done

 


My life has been filled with more activities than I'm used to this  month. And it's been hot. So relaxing with a puzzle has been really fun. And I finally finished the dog portrait puzzle. It was difficult to fit it in one picture with my phone so that's why the picture above is a bit uneven and tilted. 

I had thought it would be easy since the dogs were so different from each other and each had a different color background.

Not so, I obviously have no talent for jigsaw puzzles. Something I find a bit annoying, since I'm usually pretty good at problem solving. 

Only good thing about me and puzzles is that I don't give up. It may take me a very long time to finish one, but I will complete it. 

And I will start a new one soon, still only 300 pieces. We'll see how it goes. 

I tell you this though: Every time a piece fits into another piece, I feel a little thrill and a tiny amount of pride. It reminds me of childhood games and how proud I would be when I solved something, found the right clue, or won the game. 

I think solving puzzles is a good thing at any age. I also do crossword puzzles, and enjoy Word Master on my Kindle. 










Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Sightings From My Summer Bedroom


The other day, I saw a raven chase a road runner across my back yard. The road runner ran across the open space with the raven flying right above her, almost touching her back. When she reached the juniper trees, she just went under one and there wasn't much the raven could do, so the chase ended with a draw and no one hurt. 


The ravens are very territorial and chase away other large birds, like hawks, from the land they have claimed as theirs. I didn't know one of them would take on a road runner. 

A mule deer buck comes by almost every day. When I slept in my other bedroom, I had no idea that deer would come by here so often. Now I see several every week. The buck may be the same, but I've also seen a group of them. 

So I had to google what a group of deer is called. This is what I learned: 

Most people, upon seeing a bunch of deer together, would call it a herd; however, you also could call the group a bunch, a mob, a parcel or a rangale. Never heard that word - rangale - before. 

There's always something new to learn. At my age, all you can do is hope you will remember it!








Monday, July 19, 2021

Hogging It, Of Course She Does

 


I only use the a/c in the afternoons when the heat beats down on my living room and by the front door, where Samson likes to nap. To keep him comfortable the rest of the day, I put this fan on the floor for him.

Me: Yes, Faith, it really is for Samson. If you just move back a little you two can share it. 

Faith: Would be more fair if you had two fans. You know, one for each of us. 

Me: If you move back and don't block the air, the fan will cover both of you. 

Faith: Hmmm... I'll think about it.

Me: Orange balls go in the closet...

Faith: OK, if that's the way you want to be.







Monday, July 12, 2021

I Treat Myself -- And Jeanne Goes To Death Valley

 
I'm working on creating a calm, peaceful, and happy old age for myself. I have a strong sense that I no longer want to own anything. So I'm selling the Jeep; hoping to sell the house, while staying in it for awhile; leasing a new car instead of buying; and more along that general path. 

In the picture below, the house looks smaller and the car looks bigger. I promise I didn't get a car almost as big as my house. 



As you may know, a global shortage of computer chips has slowed auto production, resulting in fewer cars available for sale. And, of course, higher prices for the few, and I mean few, that sit on car dealers' lots. 

Not a good time to need a new car, but Joyce wants to buy the Jeep and I want to sell it to her. So on Friday, Joyce and I went to the Lancaster Auto Mall, where we began at the Subaru dealer. They had eight new cars, Foresters, a couple of Crosstreks. I didn't fit in the latter, but was interested in learning more about the Forester.

Unfortunately, the salespeople were not very helpful, so we decided to leave, get some coffee, and then go and see the Jamaican guy at Honda. His name is Clive and I've been talking to him on the phone for months now. 


He was just as nice and helpful as I expected him to be. Researching cars within my price range, I found the Honda CRV to be the best car, so I was hoping they would have some.

Well, they had one, just one, and it was a top of the line car and a lot over the amount I had budgeted. I could still afford it, and thought why not treat myself. I've been driving the Jeep for over ten years, and while it's great for around here, I don't like it on the freeways and will not take it on trips. 

Of course the color of the only car they had was this red. I didn't want a red car, but this was the only one. It's a soft metallic red and I like it better already. 

It has the necessary All Wheel Drive (in case it will ever snow or rain here again), it's a hybrid, so better for the environment, the electric charges when you step on the brake. 

It has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want. Most of them I can live without, but how cool that as long as you have your keys on you, you can just walk away, and the car will magically lock itself. Then you only have to touch the handle to open it. 

I don't need or want all the stuff I have to pay extra for, but some of it can be fun to play with, I'm sure. 

I have a lot to learn.

Best for me: I'm very comfortable sitting in it and driving it. It fits me perfectly. 

And it's such a joy to drive. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jeanne and Jon went to Death Valley, where it is HOT, VERY HOT. 

It was 110 in Lancaster, but she sent this picture from Death Valley:


Jeanne and Jon like to do these fun and a bit out of the way things. I hope it wasn't too crowded in Death Valley, I hope they weren't too HOT. Even though they were hoping for really HOT. I can't wait to hear all about it.

The temp in the picture is not verified as correct. I believe the temperature Friday hit 130 F. That converts to 54.4 Celsius. Growing up with Celsius, that makes it real for me in a whole different way. 


















Friday, July 9, 2021

Faith's Sense Of Right And Wrong


Faith has lived with me since she was six weeks old and I've taught her the basic commands and things to do and not to do. 

She has a strong sense of right and wrong. Sneaking up on the couch is probably the only sneaky thing she ever does. 

Now, I don't care if she's on the couch. My house has long since gone to the dogs, so it doesn't matter. I don't scold her or tell her to get down.

But Faith clearly thinks it matters. Yes, she sneaks up there, but is very upset if she gets "caught."  

I think this is because I may have minded when she was a puppy and told her to get down from the couch back in 2014. 


I took her picture and woke her up. Her tail started its guilty wagging, very fast, and sort of crooked. I know that wag, it only happens when she feels she's done something wrong

Just look at her eyes...



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 I'm sorry I haven't visited your blogs this week, but so many exciting things are happening. My head is spinning and I'm exhausted in a good way. So while I could have found the time, I couldn't focus my brain. 

I will tell you all about it next week. 

Also, thank you for all the lovely birthday greetings for Samson. Joyce came over with ice cream for both of them. It was a wonderful day, celebrating Samson and opening new doors for me.

I will tell you all about it next week.  I know I've said it twice, so it must be true. 

It will be true.







Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Samson Is 12!


Happy Birthday, Samson

Happy birthday to the kindest, sweetest, most loyal, patient, protective and all around adorable dog I have ever known.

 

Samson when he was a young dog.


And here he is in the present, telling me to get up and out of bed to take him for a walk. 

I love you, my boy. So very much. 



Me too, me too, I love you very much!

Happy Birthday, Samson

Maybe we'll get some 

Ice Cream!

Love, from your sister Faith







Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Midsummer

 

Every year since I've been alone here, I've watched Smiles of a Summer Night, a film by Ingmar Bergman, on my birthday. Since I was born on the solstice, this always seemed like a good way to celebrate. 

This year, I went grocery shopping instead. Then I was  exhausted, so no movie. 

And now it's Midsummer...

Traditionally, Swedes celebrate Midsummer with food, drink and dance into the light summer night. Decorating and then dancing around a Maypole is common. In the archipelago, where I spent my summers, we danced on a jetty to oldtime music played on an accordion. Such delightful memories.

In Sweden, and some other countries as well, custom says that when a young girl picks seven different kinds of wildflowers and places them under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. 


This year, I was supposed to go on a drive to the beach with my greatnieces and their dad, but after remembering the traffic and crowds at the beach on a lovely summer weekend, I suggested we go in the fall instead. 

So now, here I am spending Midsummer's Eve with Faith and Samson. 

I can't think of a better time to watch Smiles of a Summer Night again.         

            Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries, another film by Ingmar Bergman. I wonder how long he and his contributions to film will be remembered.








Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Before Sunrise



The silhouette of the hills reminds me of a Swedish poem about the cliffs of the large South island in Stockholm. 
 

As cut out of sooty paper -- the poet wrote about the silhouette of the cliffs.


I love watching the sun rise over the hills and mountains this time of the year.


Today, Monday, June 21st, the sun rises here at 5:39 a.m. and sets at 8:11 p.m. I know it's been up for awhile where most of you live. 


Have a great day!
















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