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House sparrows in the birdbath under the lilac trees

Last Wednesday, a week ago, I began looking for my friend.  I called her house, her cell. No response.   She has had a number of difficulties lately, all out of her control.  An on the job injury that will put her out of commission for work for months.  An infirm and now failing parent.  The other parent is currently being given a diagnosis.  Life is difficult.  Ever changing.  I knew things weren’t good.

I sent her a text message, offered to sit with her where her father was.  She was being strong, she didn’t call anyone to come sit with her that whole day.  It was about 7pm, I was going out the door to join her when she sent me a text, only with one word.  “Please” in reply to my query if she wanted me there.  I was on my way, I was just glad she responded favorably.  I knew she needed a friend.  Losing someone like that is so hard.  He didn’t go easily or quickly – but when he did go, she knew he was finally at peace.
When I got there, the staff was concerned and respectful.  My friend and I  sat.  We talked, we laughed.  We cried.  We call it being on death watch.  I have done it in the past.  Both my father and my husband were under hospice care at home until they passed away.  As the hours stretched out,  I noticed the little things.  And as my friend dozed near her dying father,  I stood watch over both of them and saw from a different perspective the things in that room.  Four beds in one room, three occupants.  One in the last bit of his life.  The other two snoring away.  Calming but sad.   A bulletin board above my friend’s dad’s  bed, covered with cards to him “GRANDPA! We love you SO much!   Christmas cards.  A rendition of Jesus and the trinity.  Family photos of the son who can’t be there with his kids.  My friend has taken care of each and every bit of her dads needs since a catastrophic stroke many years ago…then he had been in the convalescent home for a number of years.  She winced when I asked who the photos were of.  She focused on the fact that she never brought in photos of her or her son.  She was there frequently, she would bring her little dogs to visit the folks there when she saw her dad.   Her dad had lived with her and her son for something like  6 or 7 years post stroke.  I do not know how she did it.  Small child, full time job, disabled father.  That was long before we moved here and we became friends.  The convalescent home is here in our small town.  Now she felt bad there were no photos of her.   It was a dark time for her, but she never wavered in her commitment to helping him.  Bringing him a new stash of toothpaste.  A huge sub sandwich, and he would inhale the whole thing, always happily and contented.  He stopped being ambulatory some months ago, only the bony shell of the robust man he once was.  I never knew him before the stroke.  I only visited him there, and once, when my friend was out of town, brought him his sandwich 🙂   But that night, the last night he would see through, as he passed the next evening…..the only thing I could see in that room that last night – was my friend, with her  tremendous heart, quivering in the face of the inevitable – he would pass soon- she could not fix that.  We are fixers, the both of us.  Family first,  no matter what.  She did what was best for her dad and no one could have done better than she had done.  Her father, who she had known was gone, the frail being in the bed was a different person-not the vibrant man who had been so present for the first half of her life.  When we left at 4 a.m. that last morning, he had the rosary beads in his hand, a photo of her brother in his fingers.  He would flutter his eyelids occasionally, I don’t know if he was seeing or not.  My friend left the room, and as I went to follow her out, I stopped and said to him “thank you for giving me one of the greatest gifts in my life, your daughter is my best friend, and if not for you, I would never have known friendship like this.  Thank you.”  He passed 15 hours later, with his daughter at his side.  The service for him, a proud Veteran is tomorrow.  It may rain of course, but that doesn’t matter.  I will be there for her, as she was there all the time my husband was so ill and after he passed she helped pull me back into the land of the living.  Tenacious, stubborn, big hearted.  I am blessed to have her friendship.  That is why we are all here on this beautiful earth, to help each other in any way we can, I truly believe that.

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rabbit rabbit

The closest I get to colored eggs now that my son is grown- is what my Chicky Ladies give me.  And that ranges from different shades of brown to brilliant Aracauna egg blue.  Robin’s egg blue just wasn’t right in that sentence.  The Aracauna chicken is often times referred to as the “Easter Egg” chicken, due to the different colored eggs they lay.  Beautiful.

Several years ago on Easter morning, I was at mom’s house.  I looked out the front window past the deck, and there was a tiny rabbit.  Our very own Easter bunny.  It was so cute, but so funny to have seen it that morning.  He (or she) stayed until winter.  I think it moved down the road to where I park my truck.   I see rabbits often.

The past week and a half has been really hit and miss.  My friend’s father passed away after a week of knowing he would be going “imminently”.  Aghhhh.  I sat with her until 4 am once, then came home and slept a few hours.  Whatever, it was not about me, it was about my strong friend seeing her dad fade away and finally pass.  Sad.  Life is sad, life is exuberant.  Joyful.  It all depends on where you are in it.

So, no matter what your belief, Happy Easter and may you have a nice day with family and friends.  Here in the high country, the grass it deep, the snow on the mountain above is thick and white.  Right now it is shrouded with fog down to the treeline.  Always different, ever changing.

Like life.

Don’t waste a moment of it.

California poppies

When my son was a baby, we rented a tiny mobile home. It was on a street filled with mostly retirees. The lots were perhaps 15 feet wider than the house on each side, real postage stamp lots.  I had spent hours tethered to the baby monitor, listening for him as he slept, while weeding this little patch of ground outside his bedroom window.  Then I planted seeds.  I only planted poppies (our state flower) and lupine (because it is hugely purple :)) and as the plants grew, I would rock my son and gaze out at the planted bit of ground. Time passed and the plants grew.  When they bloomed……absolutely gorgeous! The man next door would occasionally weedwhack his grass.  No concern of mine, except he would do it when my son was napping. I took to taping a sign in the window, proclaiming “Baby sleeping”. This worked fine, until one day,  I forgot the sign.  The baby was sleeping, and the weed whacker got busy. I went to the window to put up the sign and to my horror, the neighbor was merrily whacking down all my poppies and lupine! I flew out the door and finally got him to quit.  In that short bit, he took out more than half my plants.  You see, state flower or not, people oftentimes regard them as wildflowers = weeds 😦  He was offended, he thought he was doing me a favor by getting rid of the “weeds”.  My little patch of brilliant orange and purple………I didn’t get a photo of it, I was going to do it that afternoon.  I never could look out at it without feeling terrible.

Why people do things is oftentimes beyond me.  But it is what makes us all different, unique creations.  Julie had posted on Carol’s blog, about once finding that the neighbor had cut down a lilac tree on the property line and she about had a stroke.  I totally understand!

Violas!

I was going to say that the poppy incident would not have been as traumatic to me if  I hadn’t already had this happen………but not true.  It would have been just as terrible for me regardless.

Years before, I lived on the top floor of an old house.  The second floor had been added or rather expanded on sometime in the 1940’s.  There was a 4 foot roof all the way around.  It was a lovely perch, set back from the streetcorner.  The perimeter of the house was a 4 foot garden strip.  On the side my front door was on, the landlord told me I could plant flowers, whatever I wanted to do was fine.   I was gone from 6:30 am until sometimes 6 or 7 pm, driving over the hill to work.  At first, it was in Santa Monica, then we moved our office to Culver City.  Point being, I was gone a LOT.  But I loved to garden and was thrilled to be able to  have an area to work in.  After work for most of that next week, I planted and tended, watering and spiffing things up.  I was so happy, it looked so nice!

Imagine how I felt, when I returned home the next night, to find a worktruck parked on the lawn, backed up to the roof.   Unbeknownst to me, the landlords had arranged to have the roof redone.  They had not mentioned this to me obviously!   The piles of old asphalt shingles lay in piles, all on top of what had been 25 feet of lovingly planted new flowers.  I for once was speechless.  Agh!

All the flowers  were crushed, and no one said a word to me.  Money was not an issue then and I dug up all the dead plants and did the whole thing again.  I don’t think the second time around was as neat, but I did make a roof garden as well.  I had dahlias there….I should look into those again.  Lovely flowers.  I bet chickens would eat them though.  Hmmm.

I better get busy, finish chores and get dinner going.  The wind is trying to blow anything it can away.  Too exciting, and I don’t like

Tiny moon in the sunset clouds

First, note that you can click on the photo to enlarge it 🙂  The “tiny moon” is to the right of the colored clouds .  So many different skies here…..I a very happy that my newest phone has a good camera.  It took me a while to get the hang of it, but it was worth it!

Sending positive calming thoughts to you all.  Life has been far too out of order lately.  Many people  we know are going through some terribly trying times and I hope it resolves soon.  In a better way than predicted for all.

Enjoy your day, supposed to rain for a few days coming up.

The roofline of our 1905 farmhouse at dusk

I love my old house.  I am VERY happy to be living in it.  I took this photo above not long after the electrician came and looked at the status of the house wiring.  While done in several phases, nothing is too old and all looked to be in excellent shape.  It is funny how one’s view of their home changes once you stop being sure it will burn down around your ears!  After the chimney flue fire, the realization of what a loss it would be sunk in, I found this electrician.  Such a nice fellow, he fixed some things an outlet here, a wall switch there….and showed me that the type of breaker board we have – well, the reason the refreezerator (fridge) outlet was dead.  It was tripped (and yes I LOOKED at it and flipped it, but this type you have to do that TWICE).  The fridge needs to be repaired, likely needs a little switch/temp thing.  Right now, well for many months, I have been using a tiny bar sized fridge.

Outside of baby fridge 🙂

Cute things, I always thought it would be fun to have one.  It is not great fun to use one every day, I shop for perishables  in direct proportion to how much or little space I have in it.  This is it.  But I remember there are still people living in tents on the Gulf coast…….and then in Japan…….need I say more? How can I possibly complain?  I can’t.

Not much room.......

I go through phases of losing “me”.  It comes of taking care of  a lot of different stuff.  I take care of the ranch.  I take care of other people.  It is part of having family, you take care of your own.  Life goes on and we just have to deal with whatever comes our way.   You as readers can likely tell when I am in a “lost” phase, as I don’t blog much.  When I started this blog, it was to make me be responsible for writing a bit each day, even when life got complicated.  Going to try and work on that, writing the blog more frequently.  At least that is the plan!

I am an observer.  I learn from watching and listening, always have.  I was born with too much information storing capacity.  I have said for years that I am the “Queen of Useless Information”.  Actually, thinking about that, I have now changed to  “Queen of Little Used Information”.  There, I like that better.  Nice title 🙂

Off to rehang some fencing my horse has kindly pushed over.  I am grateful I still have him.  Life gets tough, then when it gets really bad, you realize how good you had it before.  I am grateful for what I have.  I have family I love. Friends I love.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but whatever does come, I will handle it:)   Have a good day all!

The PASSENGER side of my truck - grrrrr!

You know, it is one thing if you do something, knowing it will be stupid and end badly.  It is entirely another thing, to go out of the way, to BE out of the way, and get hit in a parking lot.  Grrrr.  Admittedly, I have done my fair share of stupid things.  I once backed into our lawn tractor in front of the house.  I had been driving a small pickup truck around the ranch.  I had been feeding from it, as in driving around with a bale of hay in the back.  The tailgate was down.  I parked, went inside for a minute.  I came back out, talking to my mom and my husband…got in, put the truck in reverse, and backed ….right into the $%&# tractor.  Dearly departed husband had ridden up on tractor, pulled up right behind pickup.  Got off, closed tailgate on pickup.  I suppose it would be clearer as to the stupidity factor, if I noted I am just over 5’4″ and having the tailgate helps see BEHIND the truck.  I didn’t notice the tractor, nor the tailgate up, I was only inside for a minute and was on my way again.  Whack, dent in nose of lawn tractor.  Oh well.   So, Thursday, I went to the local animal shelter to do some paperwork and visit and wait for another rescue group to arrive.  I pulled waaayyyy over to the edge of the unmarked dirt lot and parked there.  Knowing that 3 big pickups and stock trailers would be arriving soon.  I turned off the ignition, looked down, saw a van go past me and pull in to park at the side of the building.  I went back to collecting my papers.  I glanced up again and here comes the van, backing and turning into my truck.  I had taken the keys out and the windows were up.  Bang!  Oh brother.  The fellow felt bad, and he was thankfully insured.  I do realize now that I called his insurance co that afternoon, and didn’t get a call back Friday.  Another thing on the “to do” list for Monday.  Ugh.  My poor truck!

Love this, our tree at sunset recently

Recently, actually since March 22, a number of things have happened that make the botherment of a dented truck pale in comparison.  Our friend Craig died.  Our friend Lori moved away.  This week, one of my best friend’s mom and another family friend have both been diagnosed with cancer.  The same friend’s dad is going downhill due to stroke related complications at the nursing home.  Death does not care who you are, neither does cancer.  I do like this saying though…….

Live your life to the fullest.  None of us gets out alive!

So true.

Enjoy each day, really, do it!  I do!  Enjoy the rest of the weekend 🙂

Job done, cowboy bucked off, heading back to the corrals

Rarely do I care about going to events…….but we had the opportunity to attend a bull riding here.  Mom and I went, and despite the cold cold wind, we watched the first round.  Three 8 second rides, 7 bucked off.  The break they took was a long one, and the first rider back was Dakota Lewis, rider who had been invited to the Ty Murray Invitational a few weeks back.  Dakota impressed me, not so much by his riding, the PBR events are the big league – but the camaraderie between riders is evident.  They help each other get set to ride.  One will act as a “spotter” of sorts.  One of my favorite riders, Ryan McConnell was in the chute when his bull decided to buck.  This flings the rider forward, headfirst into the padded metal chute edge.  Dakota must have seen the bull shift, because not only did he have a hold of Ryan’s protective vest, he literally held him off of hitting that bar face first.  Scary, but normal, business as usual.

Chutes open, bull flat footed, bullfighter on left

The bullfighters are the most amazing athletes.  Not only do they understand how bulls think, and figure where to go, they are in the line of fire each and every time the chute opens.  They distract the bull from the fallen rider and give the rider a chance to get to safety.  This fellow ( I missed his name,)was trained /worked with the great Joe Baumgartner Bullfighter Supreme 🙂  Really a good event!

The PBR (Professional Bull Riders) are going to be in Seattle WA at the end of April.  Boy, what I would give to go to THAT event!  Chute seats!  The whole nine yards 🙂  Ah well, something to look forward to in the future 🙂

Have a good day all, blue sky, puffy white clouds.

I don’t like saying goodbye.  See you later is ok…….but goodbye is too final.

This week was brutal.  This week, we saw a friend of ours her last day at work.  She is a doll and she is moving as her life changed totally in the last year.  Her husband passed away and she was looking for direction.  It just happens to be that her new direction is in a town far away.   See you later Lori, we will miss you.  Then a terrible shock….a friend of ours died on March 22.  Craig Ibanez.  We first met him because he was a checker at the local grocery store…..but he was so much more.  He was a musician, a singer.  He was our friend.  He was teaching himself to play the guitar.  He had a wonderful wife, his music venture partner.  He was a kind soul, a happy man.  Plans for the future, the whole 9 yards.  So many people who loved him.  We loved to go and listen to them play their music; at the fair, at the local coffee house, at local events around town.  Anywhere 🙂  He always made sure to tell me when and where.  There was another date soon, and I was making plans to go.  That won’t happen now.

He was younger than I am.

The how and why he died I don’t know and it isn’t up to me to know.  One report said he didn’t feel well that day and passed away from a heart attack sometime in the early pre-dawn hours.  He had apparently just made plans to take some “real” guitar lessons- to begin the next day.  “Someday” had come, he had made time for those lessons.  We just never know when our time will run out, do we?

When my husband was so ill, for almost two years, Craig would always ask how he was.  Then he would say “more importantly, how are YOU?  You have to take care of yourself !!!”  Recently, when mom had had surgeries and recuperation time, he would always ask where she was, how she was doing.  Right now I am crying again, as I just keep going back to what a loss, he was such a good person.  I am proud to have had him as a friend.  He was so supportive, always.  After my husband died, one day I was going through one of his dresser drawers.  In the drawer I found a binder, it was titled “Mike’s Music”.  OMG.  I never knew he had written his songs, the music down.  You see, when my husband died, in the days after, I discovered that the informal cassette tapes he had recorded of him playing his guitar, singing his songs, had been lost.  Taped over by our son, who had been given them by none other than my husband. ?!?!?!?!?!  Seriously.  Now not one recording is left.  I was distraught.  To find this binder, I was blown away.  I was thrilled to tell Craig about it.  He encouraged me to follow the last wish that “we” had, my husband and I.  That was to get his music, that he had written and played, to James Taylor.  To show JT what an influence he had on my husband’s life through the music.  A final bequest as it were.  It took a lot of doing, but finally I got the ok from James Taylor’s assistant, to go ahead and send it along.  I did and it was good for us all to hear back.  While JT didn’t ask to record my husband’s songs, he encouraged us to have someone record it for us to enjoy.  I had wanted to have Craig do it.  We talked about it several times, but I just wasn’t ready to do it is what it comes down to.  Craig told me that if the time was right sometime,  he would help me if he could.  I know he would have gladly.  He was just that sort of fellow.  A good man.

I found an online link to some songs Craig had recorded with his wife.  I had to listen.  Of course I did.  I cried madly on and off, then was just immensely relieved that HIS voice HAD been recorded and was there to hear.  Good.  See you later Craig, we will miss you.