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Ok, on the blog earlier,  I managed to thank my friend Carol for instructing me on adding to the blogroll on the side of the blog.  Told whose sites  I added and what they did.  I owe a big apology to Carol !!!!!!!!!  While I added her link, I gave her no proper introduction !  She is the creative force behind the blog  “From The Coastland”    Here is her blog address again.  Carol is a fellow writer, nature lover and photographer and good friend.   Take a look at her blog, you will be glad you did !

Today turned into a town day,  which involves the usual trek 13 miles in,  to the usual places (grocery store,  Walmart) and home again.   The horrid cold wind was blowing most of the day,  especially tonight.  We are on the weather map for perhaps snow on Thursday.  Oh goodie.  NOT !

Have a nice warm evening where you are !


A gal I know sent a note out to a lot of her friends asking this……..

 “White Why is it that embarrassing moments replay over and over in your head… No matter what you do to distract yourself ?”

I told her it is because we are human and not perfect 🙂  I know that there are  things that come to mind in my life that were those moments.  I still cringe, so I don’t think that means I am anywhere near getting past it actually occurring.  Now, this happened  25 years ago……..I was  driving past an auto dealership on the way home from work.  You know those big marquee signs ?  Well it said  “Bill Johnson wins Gold medal ! ”  I went on to a cycling meeting, where we were all going to watch the Winter Olympics……..I said “I saw a sign at XXX Motors saying Bill Johnson Wins Gold medal ! ”  OMG ……  Not realizing of course that the broadcast was tape delayed, and that  medal had been awarded that day while we were all at work……..way to go girl.  Duh, sorry folks, I didn’t know people had already gotten results………Sigh.  That one still smarts.  To have a whole room full of people turn and look at you like that…….agh !

Cold again, and still quibbling with the wood stove.  The wood I have burns a long time, but right now I am in a bit of it that is difficult to convince it has to keep burning.

Thanks to my friend Carol,  I have added a few links to my blogroll at the side of my blog.  One is Marie Bostwick, a talented writer.  One is Melissa McCobb Hubbell, a very gifted all media artist and photographer.  Thank you Carol !  See, you are not computer challenged,  you are one up on me today !

Stay warm everyone ! Might be a go to town day……..


Saddling barn at Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia California

Saddling barn at Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia California

My life has hat the tendency to be stressful.  I do too much at one time, but I can’t seem to NOT do that.  With my tendency to remember what I see,  I am constantly barraged with images that may or may not have anything to do with me or what is going on with my life.  Usually not at all.

The photo above was done by a friend of mine.  He took it yesterday in the saddling barn at Santa Anita Racetrack.  Arguably the best track and certainly the most scenic in the United States.  Built in 1934,  so much of what is there still is preserved beautifully.  It is listed as a historic place with the state of California.  This barn is next to the walking ring,  where the paddock judge calls to the trainers and riders “Riders UP” before going on to the track.  It is painted pale yellow inside,  it has never been another color.  Aqua trim.   I can feel the horses, the trainers and the riders that came through the barn all through the years.   The jockeys room is on the other side.  When I began working there in the late ’70’s,  I quickly found this to be a quiet place before the races begin.  During the break from morning workouts and caring for the horses,  and before the daily crowd comes in to enjoy the day of racing,  this is where I would go to sit and draw or write or just think.  There are shallow concrete steps leading down to it.  The air in there, under the high beamed ceiling was always cool.  The light  is almost unreal – you can see a bit of it in the photo.   The floor is a carpet of shredded bark,  and there was a fellow who would always clean up after the horses and rake and spray a fine mist of water on it.  I can still make my mind stop whirling if I concentrate on that place.   I have not been there since 1990,  and I knew that racing plant like the back of my hand.  As a teenager, I had access to anywhere I wanted to go,  be it the stewards or the president of Santa Anita.  I was an oddity, in the era when women were not allowed to be in the backstretch area (barns) after dark.  The people I knew thought it unique that I could quote a horses pedigree 3 generations back, or tell them who owned or trained a particular horse, even it if was not on the grounds.  Useful information !  The official track photographer loved it if I spent the afternoon trailing along, as I carried his bag of lenses and we got to go around to various points of the track in the hackney pony drawn carriages to be dropped off to shoot between races sometimes when horses were warming up.  Somewhere, as I approached turning 30,  I got lost in the transition of “normal people” and the track.  I was ready to take (and pass !) my California State Horse Racing Board trainers test.  There were two fellows who wanted to give me two horses of theirs to train.  So, what happened ?  I made the choice to let my first love have another chance.  It led to having my wonderful son.  For that I will never regret the rest.  It also led to the biggest life experience I would never have signed on for – being the wife of an alcoholic.  You see, at the track,  alcohol and drugs are verboten.  Nada.  Not allowed.  If a person is found to be drinking or using, OUT the door.  Not just from that track, their horse racing board license is taken away.  Permanently.  My family didn’t drink, and I had no idea of the concept of alcoholism and the heartbreak and distrust and pain it leaves in it’s wake.  While my husband did finally become sober,  the saddest thing of all was that he managed to accidentally poison himself with a copper based wood preservative product.  So, after becoming sober, reuniting with his family……. after having been told he had no cirrhosis in his liver, that he should be good to go for the next 40 years,  in less than 2 years he was dead.  From liver failure.  Please people, if a bottle has a warning label, HEED WHAT IT SAYS !  It can and does mean losing ones life if the warnings are not followed.

Frustration can eat you up.  I worked for the best trainers in the business and had the pleasure of working with some of the best horses in history.  Now I live in the sticks – in the desert, where it can snow too much and is too cold most of the time…….with a few goats, a few rescue horses but best of all, my son and my mother.  Memories I have from the track  are the balm on my soul when things are rough, as they are now.  Looking to the future and enjoying each day to the fullest is how I get by.  What have you done today to make yourself smile ?  I am thankful each day, and while we may not be where we truly want to live, while things are sparse now,  it will improve.  Because each day we get up, enjoy the sunrise,  breathe the smogless air is a new chance. 

Off to do chores, enjoy the evening !


Cast iron wood stove

Cast iron wood stove

Sometimes getting this house warmed up is …….well slow going.  I am happy if I go in the living room in the morning and it is above 52 degrees.  There is a wild range of temperatures that we deal with,  a few days ago it was almost 70 degrees outside.  Today,  I think it hovered around 48 ? 50 ? and the COLD wind blew continually.  Sucked all the warmth out of the house instantly I would say.  The photo above is of a stove somewhat like our woodburning stove in the livingroom, but newer and in production.   In this area,  I have seen several other stoves identical to ours for sale.  I have this mental picture of a couple of fellows with horse drawn wagons selling these to outfit the farm houses locally in the 1900’s.  I know that they sold the big trees to farmsteads that way……..and even where there is no longer a house, there are huge stands of these elm trees surrounding an area where a house once was…………odd and mildly entertaining information eh ?

Loads of branches down again.  Wind still blowing and I am done for the day.  Sleep well everyone !

A tree Mom liked in Olalla

A tree Mom liked in Olalla

Today, despite the cold COLD wind blowing off the peaks and snowpack,  it does look a bit like spring may be making another play to get here.   In looking through the digital mess of photos I have,  this photo stood out.  When we went looking at properties a couple of years ago,  there was a beautiful old house,  fallen into disrepair.  On the property was the tree pictured above.  In full bloom,  just so pretty.  Mom really liked it.  Perhaps it was a dogwood tree, I didn’t know.  The property we walked,  and to my amazement and alarm,  while it was listed as 9 acres,  what the description did not say was that more than 3/4 of it was down a cliff.  Yes indeedy, a CLIFF.  Of course it was all nice and green,  ferns and the like.  But walk to the edge and look down……..down……down.  Likely 150 feet down.  Not one of those  “Oh ! There’s the car !  Oops, forgot to set the parking brake” drops.  No.  More likely, call the helicopter to pull it back out, or just forget about it.  Scarey !

The house, well that was another matter.  Quite rebuildable.  Sad in that the closests still held an obviously older man and women’s clothing.  Old styled furniture, what was left of it.  Vandals had been busy,  but so much of it’s original beautiful wavy glass was intact.  I still wonder what became of it.  Here is a shot of the house. 

Old Olalla house

Old Olalla house

and another one

What a porch !

What a porch !

While I love old houses,  living in my old house here has given me a different sort of appreciation for them.  I had lived for five years in an old house that had been updated and was safe.  This house not so much so.  When we do move, I look forward to having a new manufactured house.  Lots of electrical outlets !  Tankless water heater !  Most of all, getting mom settled into a nice place and get on with enjoying life .    Dreams are plans being formed I have read……..and I agree. 

Hope your part of the world is warmer than it is here today !

While we have a bit of green,  some grass growing,  I am thinking this is about it for us again.  California is in yet another drought.  Last year,  even the wildflowers were quite sparse.  Looks to be the same this time………well I can live with this if  the weather leaves my lilac trees alone and they get to bloom for the first time in 3 years. 

Alysheba - Credit Mark Wyville

Alysheba - Credit Mark Wyville

Sadness today as well, horse racing lost another great from the past last night.  Alysheba, the Kentucky Derby winner in 1987 – trained by the immortal Jack VanBerg and ridden to his numerous victories by the incomparable Chris McCarron – was euthanized at 10 pm.  This last fall,  Alysheba had returned to the United States from Saudi Arabia, where he had been at stud,  then stood in retirement after his breeding career was over.  His majesty King Abdullah had paid to fly Alysheba home last fall, where he had held court at the Kentucky Horse Park in their Hall of Champions.  Alysheba fell in his stall yesterday afternoon, and could not rise.  He was taken across the street to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute  by ambulance where it was determined that due to a longtime  problematic spinal degeneration, his injury was untreatable.  Such a sad thing to end his long life.   Aly was a character,  and he loved to eat carrots on the sly……I could hold them out to him,  he would sneak up on my hand,  gently grab them and turn away, then CRUNCH CRUNCH then he would turn back like “hey, where are the carrots ?  Have any ??”……..we always said if he thought we didn’t SEE him eat them, he would get more of them.  RIP Aly,  you were a great one.

Sausage and the cat

Sausage playing kindly with the cat

My friend has Sausage at her house……..this started the winter we had 4 1/2 feet of snow that just would not leave………for something like 7 weeks.  At that point,  Sausage did NOT want to live in the house.  Made life really difficult and LOUD.  So, she lived outside in her dogloo with her heating mat and I cleared her yard every day.  Not a big yard.  Not a big dog though.  One day,  I had had enough for her.  I just hated her being outside with the snow.  My friend had a dwarf dog at one time and she would always come by and give Sausage treats.  It got so that if my friend even drove by and honked,  Sausage would start to howl…….and sing……..and howl.  So, one day in the bleak white constant snow,  my friend stopped and I asked Sausage if she was ready to go home with her…….my friend was flabbergasted.  She loved this little dog, but never thought I would send her over.  We  got Sausage when she was 6 months old.  She did not think that people were worth much……..she had been raised as a livestock guardian dog with her brother.  Sausage was my husband’s dog.  He worked for a long time gaining her trust.  Then he inconvienently got very ill and subsequently passed away  almost two years later.  She knew he was gone, that night, after they came for his body,  she followed the scent of the gurney’s wheels.   She stopped at the gate and let out the most bloodcurdling howling that went on and on.  Never looked for Michael after that, she knew his long illness had taken him finally.   Sausage is  a dwarf.  She has a normal sized Anatolian shepherd head on a tiny body…….the whole dog might weigh 15 pounds.  For a breed who is normally 120 lbs or more………well, an oddity.  Now she lives in the house in the winter at my friends.  She wears the most current fashions and even has been known to sport pink toenail polish.  My husband  would be aghast.  I find it funny though.  Sausage just enjoys the life she leads now.  Her size does not daunt her – we have always said she would really do some damage to a person if only they would lie down so Sausage could get her mouth on them VBG.  She is 6 years old now, she was born on Halloween.  Must have been a joke somewhere there……..but she is a wonderful dog.   The cat she is pictured above with has a condition known as ankleosis, or no joints in her hind limbs.  She can tip toe around, or will walk on her front feet and carry her hind end.  We seem to collect oddities between us here and my friend.

I am fostering another cat and his sibling, both born with extra toes.  The smaller one has really different hind legs and feet.  Longer, flatter.  I think he has an extra leg bone and has almost double feet on each side.  Something like 6 or 8 pads on each foot.  Disabled pets abound.  They deserve a good life,  I am helping my friend by caring for these two .  She will be ready for them soon.  I will try and get some photos of the kittens feet if I can.

Long day, ready to head to bed.  Have a nice evening all !

Spring finery !

Spring finery !

Ah ha !  So, you dress your dogs up the reader says !  Nope, sorry, but this was my friend’s dog.  She is a Chinese Crested Hairless dog.  She also had three legs.  My friend had this tiny dog until the opportunity came to place her in a one on one home.  Yes, she went with her wardrobe.  Very darling. 

The closest I have come to dressing anything four legged up was to put a sweater on a goat with recurring pneumonia.  She did so well wearing it,  it became part of her persona.  Bebe was the sweater goat.  Oh yeah, I did have a goat named Sweater too…….but some idiot stole him the week we moved up here.  Always wonder about  why someone would do that……my mind goes to dark places (and kitchens) when I think about where he ended up.  I wish he became a beloved pet………..can always hope.  He was silver gray with a white cape or shrug marking on his shoulders.  So, instead of calling him Shrug or Cape, I opted for some reason to call him Sweater Goat.  Oh well.  We rescued many goats and sheep…….and horses…..and cats…….and dogs……and chickens………and turkeys…….through the years.    However, we are no longer taking in critters.  We ran out of names long ago……..which is how we came to have goats named “Bip”  or “Sweater”  or “Mysterious” .  The list is longer than my arm.

When I find a good photo of  our Anatolian Shepherd x Catahoula cross dwarf dog  “Sausage” I will post it.  By the way, she came pre-named  🙂  plus she lives with my friend, the queen of dog dress up………so Sausage will likely be wearing something trendy, and most likely pink 🙂

Weird weather today, black clouds hanging over the peaks. Where is spring ?

Red tulips - 2007

Red tulips - 2007

Now here is what we are thinking we will soon see…….these tulips were here when we moved in in 2002.   Pretty things.  There are also some dusty lavendar ones.  They must be quite old, and I am always glad when they reappear.  We have some little daffodils here somewhere too.  I was glad to find these photos…… know, it seemed (at the time at least) that using a normal 35 mm camera that you took the film in for processing and got back prints and negatives……….well it was always hard to find an individual shot.  Unless you were REALLY good about labeling the film envelopes.  Or heaven forbid FILED them in any sort of an order.  Well, I have decided that it was much easier back then.  To find a specific photo in the list of digital photos is a pain in the a$$ if you know what I mean.  That I have somewhere around 5500 photos archived here……well, they are not individually named.  If they were, no problem !  But alas, they aren’t.  So,  since I don’t have an intern either it is just more time to search and hunt and hopefully find the photo that I wanted to post. Hmph.

Zipped to the post office, and there were two things there I wanted to find… new audiobook I won from Susan’s blog giveaway…..FIRESIDE on cd.  Yeah !  Thank you Susan !  Plus a magnifier/bookmark.  Very nice – I am happy !  

Also,  an aquaintence was selling down on her craft booklets,  and I saw her auctions up as they were ending……..and saw two books that would have been nice to have.  “Learn to Knit in one day” or some such title, and “Crochet Placemats”  with different patterns.  I emailed her to ask if she was going to put them up again,  and she offered to send them to me if I would pay the postage.  So, I did and so, for $ 2.02 we have two nice booklets.  Mom has been doing knitting and crochet projects, and I want to start (when I have time VBG) and these look good to start with.

Off to fix lunch and need to spend time sorting ideas and stories.  Thinking of entering a couple of writing contests. 

Have a nice day all !!!!!!!!!



Not enough time in each day when it is like this.  While there are some clouds today, no weather for the next few days at least. Yeah ! I have a lot of things going on in a lot of different directions and no precipitation makes things a lot quicker and easier to do.   I will post a true blog entry later on,  better get things done outside first.

Hope the weather is cooperating where you live !