Affirmed, the most recent Triple Crown Winner in 1978

Affirmed, the reigning Triple Crown Winner in 1978

1978. I was working as a freelance photographer mostly at that point. I walked horses, groomed horses and ponied horses to the track in the mornings. Henry Moreno signed for my first license and was the best guy in the world to have in your corner. At Hollywood Park one morning, his new pony had come in and was tacked up, waiting for Henry. He hadn’t gotten there yet, so I  took the pony for a spin and while pony horse is what they are called, these horses are nothing like a “pony”. I had a blast, the horse was really responsive and when I got back to Henry’s barn, he came out and asked for his new ride🙂 I got off, and he got up. As they went off to the track, the pony spooked at something and Henry of course got the horse sorted out and continued on. Henry turned back to me and called “what would have happened if he did that when you were out goofing off on him? I said “who said he didn’t? same as you🙂🙂🙂 ”  I found out this week that Henry is not well, age is getting the better of him. It has been a rough few weeks, Hollywood Park is pretty much demolished and gone. Then to find out about Henry was another blow. Life goes on though.

Our still current Triple Crown Champion Affirmed had yet to be crowned 37 years ago about this time. I didn’t travel with the barn (Barreras) , and was not too nervous about that Belmont to be run. The irritating thing that has dogged Affirmed’s legacy is that it is so often said “the Affirmed and Alydar rivalry” Oh right. The thing that people fail to see, is that while the races Affirmed were won, they were not won by a wide margin. If Secretariat was a jock, my friend Affirmed was the computer lab geek who ran and won at cross country. He would never run any harder than to get the job done. He was smart and funny and loved his naps. Juan Alaniz, Affirmed’s groom was my friend. The trainers I knew on the backside looked out for me, steered me in the right direction. I drew and took photographs with a huge Vivitar camera. I spent time sitting and waiting while Affirmed napped, which was a favorite pastime of his.  I was different. A kid who could recite Thoroughbred pedigrees back four or five generations upon demand🙂 That was long before computers. I was bitten by the horse racing bug when I was 10. My first trip to Santa Anita was to see Cannonero II parade between races. School bored me to tears. In 8th grade, in my Spanish language class, I was pulled aside after class. The teacher politely requested that I leave the racing form and radio in my locker when in her class. Multi tasking was my norm. Round Panasonic radio, using what now is termed ear buds (but only was a single) listening to news, reading the Racing form, writing my paper for english and answering questions to the spanish teacher all at one time was too much for her. She said it made her look bad as a teacher. Huh? Whatever. Limited people. I could not wait to get to the track and work.

I spent a lot of time talking to the old guard at the track. Buster Millerick. H.C.McBride. Mesh Tenney, the trainer of Swaps. Lots of stories, lots of emotion.

Today is the first time in all these years since my boy won the crown that I feel that it could be crowned again. Good luck to American Pharoah and all who run today. Maybe the crown will be passed to the new generation. We shall see.


Today is mom’s 82nd birthday. Where does the time go? The petunia above was a deck planting – one that we brought indoors at her house in October several years ago. They lived and bloomed indoors until February. Quite fun to have them indoors.

IMG_2662One of her indoor planted, sprouted and grown sunflowers. Courtesy of the wild bird seed. Another fun plant!

Our dear friend is taking us to lunch today at our favorite place to celebrate. Lassen Ale Works.

Have a great day all!


It really was beautiful this morning. The photographer (me) got outside a bit too late to truly capture the intensity of this sunrise. The light changes in a blink of an eye. The outside cats didn’t appreciate me rushing out the door either. In normal January weather, it could be unsafe, but it is unusual weather once again. It may be nearly 60 degrees here today. I am not complaining about that for sure. Growing up in Southern California makes one really respect the cold/snow/ice here.  Having to prepare for keeping utilities going, making sure there is access to the propane tanks, the utility shed on moms side of the ranch. Clearing the lid for our underground pump house. Who does that? Underground? I have seen a few others like this here, and a local person could enlighten me I bet. We came from Central California 12 1/2 years ago. We had a HUGE water storage tank above ground, so this was a really interesting thing. Then there is snow/ice and vehicle care and usage. Always making sure that the vehicles can get out, be cleared of snow and start. Mom’s van needed a battery last week. Not amusing. It did however have the grace to be dead at home, and we got it replaced without too much problem. That battery lasted 4 1/2 years, which up here is an amazing thing apparently. At least that is out of the way for now.

Today I am looking for a small side table I have had forever. We have done a lot of sorting and downsizing and that would never leave. However, where did I put it? My quest for the day.

Happy Wednesday all!



One of the Great Horned Owls in their nest above our house.

One of the Great Horned Owls in their nest above our house.

Worry is not in any way valuable.

Except for wasting time.  I found this somewhere and wrote it down. I have no idea who came up with it.

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength”

I agree!

Sweet dreams all🙂

Lilacs of course

Lilacs of course

I am a list maker. If it doesn’t get written down, it either does not get done, bought or finished. After my Aspartame (diet Coke) toxicity damage, I don’t remember a lot of things. Memory loss sucks. It is disturbing, sad, maddening and somewhat altogether upsetting.  The big things I usually do remember. It is other stuff that has a tendency to not just fall through the cracks, but disappear completely. I come to terms usually when I find something that I don’t remember buying, it is a happy surprise. Seems like a reasonable way to deal with it.

I know people who choose a word for the year. Some sort of compass to direct them. For me, my background theme is to breathe. Along with relaxing or chillin’ I have found that once I center myself and breathe, I can think. Thinking is really not over rated. Stress will ruin that ability, and worry just takes away our time each day, replacing time with stress. So, I breathe. It is making a difference.

Also, I have not worn a ring or jewelry of any sort in many years. I decided that as a birthday gift to myself, I would buy myself a ring. I did. It is a little sterling silver ring, which simply says  “breathe”. It wasn’t expensive and I had to buy a size 13 to encourage it to slip onto my terribly misshapen middle finger on my right hand. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I also had dislocated that finger when I was 27. That knuckle joint is not like originally installed shall we say. The “breathe” word usually slips under to my palm side, leaving a thin silver band exposed. I have gotten more compliments on the slim band recently which is interesting, and I have not pointed out that it is the back side of a ring that bears a significant word for me. I bought it for me, as a reminder and that is why it is there. It works for me!

Happy Saturday to you all!


The first sunrise of 2015 peeking through the blinds


We enter this world with just us. Our soul. Our body. What we choose to do with both while we are here is our choice. Today I found myself wondering how the world will be in another 365 days. What is coming down the pike per se. Changes? Happy things? I would love to have a drama free year. Really.

The economic analyst that I was listening to this morning says 2015 will be a great year for the consumer. For jobs, for everything. I myself am very happy to have the chance to get up each day and make a difference. For myself, eating right and walking. For my family, pitching in where I’m needed.

Writing. More particularly writing and dreams of selling my writing.

Onward we go, it is up to us to choose what to do with each gift of each day. Be kind, be smart. Help others. Pray, chant and meditate. Our world needs peace. Thinking good thoughts, it isn’t just a “line”. It is an attitude and we can really make a difference.

There is a story, about a person walking along a beach, the tide was out and there were starfish dying in the open air, in the sun. The person would bend and pick one up and toss it back to the sea. Someone else came along and said “it’s only a starfish, why bother?” The person replied “because for that starfish it means everything”.

Tell those who matter to you how you feel. Be there, listen and smile at that person on the street. You can make a difference, we all can.


Picture 271December 22, 2014. It does not look like this here at all!  Green grass around the ranch. It was 50 degrees yesterday morning. Obviously mother nature needs meds. Amazingly weird.

Today I find an email from a bogus “PayPal” address to me. It begins “Dear Costumer” Obviously spam from the first glance, but it got me laughing. In my rediscovery of finding myself, sorting out from under too much of everything in what had become my life – I have been noticing that not only had I spent many years (too long) dressing for livestock only, I don’t own much that isn’t wrecked totally. Actually I do, but my stuff to wear goes right from the pen to the boardroom. Nothing in between. Another point to ponder. Obviously not a costumer, haha!

We have no snow here on the valley floor. The photograph above is from I think November of 2013, a freak snowstorm that no one saw coming. And it only dumped snow in a swath a couple of miles long by a mile or so wide. I don’t recall the specifics, but this was what I saw that morning! We live in the high country, the desert where it snows I call it. However like the rest of California, we have been either having no precipitation, or tons of rain.  It is a few days before Christmas, and once again I don’t have any zest for the decor or anything much else. I can say that for the first time in many years, we are going to put up a tree though. Which is an interesting point, as some years ago, at the after Christmas sale at WalMart, I bought a “vintage” tinsel tree. I had thought I recalled two things about it. One, that it was pre lit. No. It has a color wheel, stand alone spotlight as the originals did back in the 1960’s (?) Also, I thought it was a 3′ or 4′ tree. No. It is a SIX foot tree. So, we shall see. We can choose from a tiny table top tree or a 6 footer. Hmm.

Enjoy your day all, life goes on while we are making plans, which is really the case. Tell those that matter to you how you feel, and smile!

Owlet in May 2012

Owlet in May 2012

As the seasons change, as the storms blow in and disappear, we live our lives. Even my owlet friend moved on. Best news ever just now! My friend who has been battling liver failure for what seems like forever got the word today – she is ON THE TRANSPLANT LIST! Finally! Praise God, thank the heavens, the earth anyone you pray to, chant or look to for peace and guidance.

She has a chance to go on living.

Ahhh. Really no words. So thankful!

We had the storm of all storms roll in recently. No warning and it was hot. HOT. I finally gave in and opened all our windows. It was really kind of a no brainer. It was 96 in the living room and 94 outdoors. I finished up outside and came in when there was enough thunder and lightning striking that it made me unsettled.  Once inside, with the windows open, I heard it begin to blow. Then rain. Then pour. I shut the windows on the side of the house with the lilacs. I stood in the doorway of the mudroom watching the rain come down. Then it occurred to me that a vent on the old horse trailer was open still. I knew I had to go outside. I ran out and was instantly drenched. I fixed the vent  and ran back inside, only to realize that the wind had switched around and blowing horizontal rain IN.  I had to go help my mom. Her windows were all open too. I got to her van and drove around to moms. There was so much rain, dirt and wind I literally could not see past my driveway and could not see the homes across the road!  Got to moms and helped some, then had to go home to assess what was happening there. Back in the rain. My son had it handled, I got some more towels and back outside, through the torrential downpour and electrical activity.  I actually bagged the towels I took to moms as they would have been soaked before I got to the car. At mom’s, rain had blown in halfway across the kitchen and it was an amazing mess. That was an amazing storm. No damage here aside from just way too much water on the ground at once.

This photo I took before the storm hit.

Storm on the horizon - July 2014

Storm on the horizon – July 2014

I am grateful for each day I have. I am thankful that my friend Susan has a shot at living a long happy life. What a day. I am exhausted and it is only 2:30. Oh dear!

Enjoy your day and tell those that matter to you how much you care. Just do it.

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.