Lilacs getting ready to bloom

Lilacs getting ready to bloom

The weather here in the desert where it snows (usually) has done what it has done in the past. Winter leaves quickly and it becomes hotter than spring should be.Pretty much  tries to go right into summer of sorts. Today there are lilacs forming blossoms. The breeze brings a whiff of their scent even not in bloom, not even leafed out yet. The winter attitude of the valley has quickly been replaced with yellow green foliage. The trees in the area are currently wearing what will be short lived halos of greenish glow as their leaves grow in. The honey locust trees are always late to the party and  still look dead. Which will be the case until they leaf out and I will once again forget that I had questioned their viability after the winter.

My friend Susan that I wrote about in the last blog has seen the transplant team. I hope to talk to her on the phone soon. I don’t know where she is in that long line of tests and evaluations.  I heard from her that it was as long and difficult as it was 11 years ago. That was when my husband was so ill. The teams don’t want to gamble on people who are too sick and end up wasting that precious donor organ. I understood then as I do now, that donor organs, cadaver organs are precious and they have to be careful in who they choose to place them in. Live organ donors can work out too. I have a “twitter” friend who has a son who is a miracle and is living, married with a beautiful baby  now. It works!

It seems that with social media, I hear of and become “internet friends” with more people than I as a writer/hermit normally become involved with. One young woman I became aware of had gone through surgery for breast cancer, chemo. Then a lung cancer scare. Now she has a thyroid tumor? So much sadness and pain. So much trying to cure people after the fact. They are taking the gland out today. She isn’t even 20 years old.

So, we hope and pray, for those we know in difficult circumstances. We hope to rise tomorrow, and have another day to share, to make better choices. To make a difference in someone else’s life.

Enjoy the day, I always do :)

GHO fledgling May 2012

GHO fledgling May 2012

It has been not just a while, but a long time since I blogged. Obviously.

To celebrate my return, a photo first of my favorite owl ever. The youngster I untangled from some wire not long after he fledged from the nest. He followed me around after that incident. I call him the Whistling Owl. He would wait by moms house on the electric pole. When I would leave her house, he would fly down and sit on the corner of the pasture fence. He would hoot, I would whistle. I would walk on, and he would hop/fly to the next post. We would do this all the way home. Then he would sit above me in the tree, outside the back door and we would hoot and whistle and chat for a long time. He would decide when that the visit was over. He would drop out of the tree and fly over my head, circle around and fly off.  Magical. But after a terrible storm with hurricane force winds when the owlets were 6 months old, he disappeared. I was heartbroken, knowing that he likely perished. After many months, he reappeared. He doesn’t stay here, but does visit. He visited here several weeks ago, following me around and I would whistle, he would hoot. Very very cool. Nothing like having a Great Horned Owl as a friend. He lives nearby but no longer in the tree above the farmhouse we live in. It also really made the owls bothered when the dangerous trees were cut last summer. Oh well, it is what it is, and now our house is safe at least, albeit hootless.

Life gets busy. Health issues gets overwhelming. We are brought into the world with lots of love and fanfare, babies seem to generate that :) I have friends who are now grandmothers. Or “glammas” – glamorous grandmas you know. I live vicariously through their photographs of their new tiny family members.  They grow so quickly and suddenly the cute is replaced by scrapes, computers and then parents becoming “not cool to be seen with”  It is life. Enjoy every second.

In the past years, I have made friends through this electronic device, the computer. People we seem to call “Internet friends”, be it through Facebook or Twitter or special interest groups/chats.  I have have had the pleasure of meeting some face to face. Some are far away, and since I seldom leave the high country, we might not meet in person.  But not so much for the distance. One wonderful friend is very sick, her name is Susan – she lives in Illinois.  I met her through Chef Robert Irvine’s twitter writings.  She is a special bright soul. Several of us band together and talk, Susan with her shining hope and faith. Brian, Michelle and Robert with their positivity and faith and hope. The electronic age is wonderful.  It is also one way to bring home the fact that these people are as close as your screen, special to our hearts, and as perfectly transparent as the air we breathe. We didn’t know how to contact each other aside from this box, this electricity driven marvel. Once Susan disappeared from Twitter and we were frantic. Thankfully she got through that health crisis and reappeared. Now we at least have the ability to text.

What got me writing here again, is that Susan is in crisis, today she finds out about some test results.  The results need to be clean, so she can go on the liver transplant waiting list. She is very ill, she is in liver failure and she needs a miracle. She needs clean test results and she needs a liver.

She is ill much like my husband was.  That is really bad. But there is still hope!

I know what liver failure looks like. What it does to a person.  In May it will be 10 years since he passed.  I am asking you all if you would to say a good word for Susan. Pray, chant, send peace and hope.  She is a wonderful woman who has been helping people all her life as a nurse.  She saw her husband pass away early, her soul mate. She is a believer. But as she says, there is so much she still wants to do.

She recently became a first time grandmother :) A grandson. Such joy!!! But it is a double edged thing as well, such heartache to think that our friend might not have as much future as the rest of us hope to.

That is the thing, we never know how long we have. Life is fleeting, and I have seen too much death and dying. I got obsessed, and in caring for others and shutting off myself, I got into a bad place with my health. I was lucky, I got a clue, and am walking and eating right again. It’s not like I was doing things, or not doing things on purpose, it just spiraled and I didn’t see it. If I had turned over one night and realized that was “it” that would have been IT. I hope I  have a lot of time on the horizon for the future. Places to go, people to see. Books to write. Photographs to take.

Cherish every moment people. Remember, your past does not define you. What you choose to do each day you are lucky enough to open your eyes and get out of bed does. Saying you will make changes is good. DOING it is what counts. Just do it. Today is a gift!!

Prayers for Susan today please, she is after all, one of us.

xoxo

Pam

When I would drive through a rural area and think “I wonder what sort of antiques or old VW’s they might have in there”

The barn in back at dawn of January 24 - all rosy pink

The barn in back at dawn of January 24 – all rosy pink

It occurred to me that I am now that person with the barn.

Of course mine still have a very few creatures, one old goat.  Some barn cats.  Not much at all.

I want to move to the Sound.

I want this to be my “good morning” view.

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

Dawn on the beach, Port Orchard Washington

The cute beach house we stayed in a few  years ago is no longer a vacation rental.  It is for sale and they had an open house last weekend.  I would have bought it in a heartbeat.  This is my favorite view below.

The beach house Port Orchard Washington

The beach house Port Orchard Washington

We all were sick that week we stayed there, but I was able to take a million photographs. It was magical. I miss the beach terribly.  It looks like we are going to be able to visit soon though.

I might never come back.

 

 

Home. Family. Life. Health. It is all really tied up in one package. And if you ever forget, you get reminded.

Last Tuesday, everything very nearly changed forever.  The neighbor next door managed to make a bad mistake. It involved gasoline, a vehicle on fire and wind. Thank God for a series of events that led to us seeing this happen.

I was ready to rest a bit. Mom needed to go to the post office. So, I didn’t lie down, we drove a half mile to the post office instead.  That and stopping to inquire about a package brought us on our drive home at exactly the right time.  From the side street I drive down, we can see our place and the two other lots clearly.  Not long ago, before knowing that the people on the corner do custom metalwork (and have a forge which when in use produces smoke) I was alarmed seeing smoke there once.  So, now I seem to always glance across to our place.  This day, I see our neighbor in front of a vehicle that has a fire in the engine compartment.  It had just started but was going great guns.  Did I mention that this van had not moved for 11 years?  He was trying to start it, thus the gasoline involvement.  Fortunately the neighbor HAD mowed around that area recently and while the van was still sitting in dry grass, the tall stuff was gone.  Which is a good thing, or my house likely would not be where I am typing this from.  We tore around and pulled in, stopping a distance off.  I yelled to him, asking what I can do, he yells “CALL 911!!!!”  He did have his cell phone pressed to his head, but good old AT&T kept dropping his call and he had not gotten through.  He also was unprepared for a fire, no water or fire extinguisher at hand.  I got through on my phone, and  got 911 on the way.  We alerted two neighbors, who both went to see if they could help, one with shovel in hand, the other bare handed.  His fiancée later told me he was tossing aerosol cans away from the fire next to the  Connex box that the neighbor uses as a workshop. Living rural, we have a volunteer fire dept.  It was something like the longest 17 minutes of my life.  My son was hosing down embers behind our cottage building long before the water trucks got there.  He saved our place.  The wind was blowing and it was headed right to the cottage.  The tank trucks finally got there and got it put out.  I have never been so thankful to have help arrive  in my life!

Next door wreckage, photo by Ruth Ellis

Next door wreckage, photo by Ruth Ellis

This all happened when if mom hadn’t needed to get something in the mail, I would have been lying down in my room on the other side of the house.  My son was again working nights, so he had gone to bed.  Mom would have been resting.  And no one would have gotten 911 on the phone in time to keep our place from becoming ashes.

Our neighbors were great. People appeared from miles away. People who were concerned about us, knowing we have animals, came to help if needed. Thank you all.  Not being alone with crazy things going on helped.

The fires in Colorado, the tornadoes, hurricanes, mother nature is kicking us humans around a lot.

All I can say is be prepared.  Important documents in a quick to grab box.  Or a safe deposit box at the bank.  Know where your leads are for your dogs. Halters for your horses and goats.  Do everyone a favor and make sure the horses all know how to lead, tie and load into a trailer.  Animal crates if you have cats or small animals.  Sometimes all the prep in the world isn’t enough though.  Every single thing except your life and your loved ones are replaceable.  Remember that.

Father’s Day is bittersweet for me.  My own father died many years ago, and he was always on his own tangent.  Brilliant and reclusive.  My real dad, some would say “stepfather” passed in 2000.  This is my favorite photograph. I think I was 22 or so.

Pam and Pop

Pam and Pop

He was great, always supportive and man if you did something that wasn’t what he agreed with he would give me “THE LOOK”  Miss you Pop!  My husband passed in 2004 and so, our little family just remembers the good times when more of us were here.  We never know what life has in store for us, or when our number is up. Enjoy each day, every second of it.

Hug those close to you.  Tell those you love how you feel.

Lilacs in eclipse light.

Lilacs in eclipse light.

This photo I took during the eclipse last year.  It was quite interesting.  Like I didn’t know that our shadows would waver and multiply.  Like this.  It is difficult to see, but there is perhaps a half inch around the outside of each shadow that was lighter. Odd.

double shadowOr this (my hands were still, not waving around.  Most odd.  I had never heard reference of shadows being weird during an eclipse.  The shadows were all  WILD!

eclipse hands

Or this, it was the lighting that I found absolutely fascinating. It was dimmer and the birds were still.  I took a photo of the dad Great Horned Owl and he was anxious (well for an owl)  I had to go get mom outside to see.  It was very very strange.

eclipse lightThis is the same kind of butterfly that I have as my Facebook profile photograph right now.  It is brilliant yellow. Not during the eclipse :)

Life goes on here in the desert where it snows.  Winter, hard freezes until recently.  Now it is nearing 90 degrees.  The lilac trees are miffed, only a handful of blooms this year.  I’ll take that though.  I love the old trees and it is a calming thing to see .

Enjoy the day all, tell those who matter to you how you feel.  Life is too short, enjoy each day, all of it!!

Image

Lucy, mom’s rescued kitten (er cat!)

A photograph I took with the iPhone 4s.  Oh good, I found the dashboard function finally. WordPress – grr!  Change is never easy and things like this drive me bonkers.I have been having a great time with the iPhone 4s.  I was particularly thrilled with the iCloud function.  Automatic back up when charging.  No more sending photographs to myself via email.  Just install a panel on my pc and I can…..whoops!  My operating system is Windows XP, which is not one of the pc systems it will work with.  Great.  Back to emailing photos to myself. Which just goes to show it is always something! My computer is ancient, and after the loss of the hard drive last fall – and subsequent ill-timed replacement of a new drive in an old box…..well, going to have to find a new one somehow.  Because of this, I have been writing longhand, as this electricity in a box is on its last legs.  That sadly does not work well for me, with the RA and holding a pen is literally a pain. Being a writer without a computer that works properly and hands that aren’t able to write comfortably is a chore.  Something will work out, it usually does.

I have been having fun with a sinus thing going on.  I am done with it, it can leave anytime.  I have too many things to do to lie around because I am wrecked.  Complain, whine.  Oh well.

Spring in the high Sierra. The desert where it snows.  And likely still will again before it becomes real summer.  The lilac trees are beyond confused.  A few blooms forming on new growth, but none on the main trees.  Hmm.

Have a wonderful day all, tell those that matter to you how you feel.

100_4348

If we are ready for it or not, life does go on.  In the age of being electronically connected, be it Facebook, or Twitter, social media does have its place.  Some use it for no reason but to chat.  Some for getting their name out there.  Or their products or services.  But sometimes, we find someone who is  like US.  We seem to call that having “Internet Friends”  Knowing how electronically connected we as humans can be – it was nice to find a regular guy in a spotlight with kindness and compassion.  He is not afraid to say so.  He helps others and encourages others to do so too.   I had begun “following” him on Twitter.   Robert Irvine is a chef, and really an amazingly kind human being.  Shortly after I began following him, he passed along a message about a gal who is in a health crisis.  I only know her as Susan.    She is a nurse, but has Hepatitis C now.  She is also battling cancer.  She hopes to have a ranch one day, to rescue horses and other animals.  I have been doing this for many years and she enjoys reading the blog.  Not long ago she told me she focuses on the place here to meditate.  I hope it has brought her peace.

So, each time a new episode of Chef Robert’s current show is aired, Susan would “tweet” encouragement to others – saying watch Restaurant Impossible! and to comment on the show.  Such a bright soul she has. But now,  something that has come to light recently for me is this.  While we “know” each other, and I can say that about a LOT of  “Internet friends”, we don’t KNOW her.  I have her email address, and since my last email to her, there has been no reply. I don’t know how to find out how she is.  It is really kind of a desperate worrisome feeling.  It  got me sadly thinking, kind of like the “if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a noise” theme…….if she is really really ill now, and  leaves this world, will we know? We would like to know, but would we find out?  The privacy issues today, of Facebook or Twitter, or personal email accounts, much like the HIPPA docs we sign at the hospital, no one can find out info on that acct and I mean family, like next of kin.  They can’t close it, if they can’t update those who follow us along on the journey, what happens?

Nothing I fear.  I do hope that Susan has only hit a rough patch, and she will pop up again.  For an “Internet friend”, she is one special lady.  I wish her well, I send her peace and healing and no pain.

I hope we hear something.

GHO fledgling May 2012

Great Horned Owl fledgling – May 2012

 

 

It is always what we don’t expect here with the weather.  There is green grass springing up all over.  Actually there is longer grass that grew under the plates of ice that seem to have gotten a jump on the free growing grass.  Of course it is still at or below freezing at night.  I awoke to the calls of the Great Horned Owl pair.  I hear them on and off during the night at times.  This morning I went outside just in time to see one go back to the tree across the road to go to sleep.  Such beautiful birds.  I think they may be egg sitting in the nest across the road.  Hmmmm

Life is so fleeting – tell those that matter to you how you feel.  Hug them and enjoy each day.  I do and I think, no I know – it makes life better overall.  Enjoy your day, if it is bright and warm or cold and snowy.

Oh! If anyone could take a moment and leave a comment for me I would appreciate it.  Two things. One – can you easily leave a comment through this blog?  and where are you reading this blog from in the world? I have a map counter on this blog and it is fun to see states/cities listed.  I don’t know who it might be, and I am curious!

Thanks!

The giant iron rooster!

The giant iron rooster is like 5 feet tall…..

The kitchen windowsill yesterday morning.

and the kitchen windowsill with my small iron rooster :)

I love decorative iron.  Usually small.  Like this iron rooster I bought some years ago.  Then, on a wonderful writers weekend on Whidbey Island, there in front of a shop stood a GIANT iron rooster.  He is like 5 feet tall.  Carol, do you have that photo you took of me and this giant bird somewhere?  Send me a copy please :) It was really funny to see the big version of my windowsill roo.

So, since my graceful trip and fall onto the bow of the project boat in the dark, in the winter,in the desert – all without any snow or ice to blame…..I am finally feeling more like myself.  I still have bruising but it is finally fading. Thank heavens.  I was so close to really REALLY wrecking myself.  Grr.

I have been thinking – which in of itself can bring forth a lot of strangeness.  And I think of Monty Python, and Eric Idle’s blog recently.  He was amazed to realize that he met John Cleese 50 years ago.  Where does the time go? If you are interested in that blog, it is at   http://www.ericidle.com  and it was his February 23 entry.

There are a lot less older people now, and a LOT more younger ones. This observation just kind of by accident.  I know, all people likely think  that when they are 18, people older than say 30 are ancient.  Well, now not so much so.

When we moved up here, to the desert where it snows, we were still in what I have come to think of as the “acquire” mode.  Animals, livestock fencing.  Strays. Disabled creatures.  Advance! Expand! Build!

Not any more.  At some point in the hopefully near future, we shall move.  No more desert and hello Puget Sound! Can’t wait.

In preparation for saving what was left of my sanity, several years ago, I learned a very vital word.  That word is “no”  as in no more creatures that eat, require attention.  The less to care for, the better for me.  The snow and the cold,  and caring for a whole ranch has worn me out.  My rheumatoid arthritis is claiming more of my flexibility. My hands are really showing it now.  Sad.  I still however will paint my fingernails wild colors and have fun with it.  I refuse to become boring!

On another catch up tangent, you know, people can be so great :)

There is an amazing man, Robert Irvine.  He currently has a show in production, called “Restaurant Impossible”  I discovered he is active on Twitter.  I chose to “follow” him.  He is very supportive to people in all walks of life.  Within the week, he asked his followers to support a gal who is facing a huge health crisis.  She is a lot like me – she wants to have a ranch some day.  She reads my blog (well when I write it) so HI SUSAN! :) Have a great evening!

I am going to fold up and get comfortable.  I have had several long difficult weeks for varied reasons.  However each day I can get up and make a difference, I am happy.

The owls were here tonight.  The youngster I dubbed the “bobble headed owl” was in the tree calling.  He flew off and if I can ever figure out how to send a video from my iPhone to my desktop, I can post it here.  Sigh….goodnight all!

xoxo

Always.

Never go outside at night without a flashlight.  Even with lights or markers on the path.  I have carried one mostly, but this was right out the back door, I even turned the back light on.  I was carrying a kitchen towel.  I put on my neoprene/rubber high boots.  No coat, no gloves.

I should have had that %#$& light.

Late last night, the chickens were making some noises, so I went out to investigate. Not that I haven’t done this like a million times. However this time, I tripped, and what I tripped ON became the problem.

How many people have a collision with a boat, in the night, in the desert.  In the winter.  Me! At least it had nothing to do with ice or snow.

The coop is illuminated, and bright enough it obscured close up stuff.  Without a flashlight I really did it.

The boat I got as a project for my late husband- when he was sliding down the slippery slope of life before he passed.  I figured it would give him another reason to fight on and live.  Nope.  So now he is gone and the the boat is still here.  It waits (like me) for it’s next part of life to begin.  It is right next to the path, kind of between one chicken coop and the barn in front.

I don’t know if it was I just got too close to the two tire stack that the trailer hitch is on or what.  I can tell you that it was not good.

Once you have your feet out from underneath you, falling forward, you land on the bow, on your chin.  Next, my partially fused- not surgically stabilized neck which was broken in 1988 goes crack crack crack!  Then my back.  Crack crack crack!!!  (Note, my back and particularly my neck NEVER crack)  All the while I am flailing about trying to get my feet back underneath me, realizing that my hands can’t get a hold of anything either.  I begin to hear some noise.  Then at this next point, I realize that noise is ME. Ugh!  I don’t know if it was a mixture of not pg words, or plain disgust.  I do know I wasn’t calling for help, no one would ever hear me.  We live very rural.  While there is a road in front, the neighbors, and my son are all sleeping at this point – not outside, certainly not hurt and knowing I have to get back indoors.  Silent except for my noise and my cat Hawaii who hears me and begins to wail.  I must have REALLY sounded great!  Poor cat!

Finally, I rotate over the bow, which I am stuck on like a fish on a stick. I get my left arm over my head finally, too late, and roll over my chest, my one good arm and drop on my back.  Landing partially on the hitch, on the tires, then finally half on the ground.  Stopping when I am still half stuck on the tires.  OMG!

Now why did I think I had to go outside?

I did sleep, on and off.  I need to heal.  I think the spine and neck are ok, just jarred beyond belief.

I would not suggest anyone else do this. Ever.

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