Sunday, July 31, 2011

"For better or worse . . . or Bear"

Dean was the first to wake last night - to the sound of running water. Why was the deck faucet outside the kitchen pouring out water? As he went to explore and turn it off, he looked in through the now open kitchen window to see a bear in the kitchen. He came inside, picked up the pan and spoon, opened our bedroom door and banged. The bear took off back through the window.

Except Dean didn’t exactly see him exit the window. So I began to worry. Did he by Any chance go downstairs? We were lucky really - a bag of walnuts from the cabinet and bacon bits and one other something from the open fridge and lots of dirt around the sink was all the damage done. I poured more Pine Sol on the counter and we locked up and went back to bed. Except I kept wondering: did he go down stairs?

After lying wide-eyed and stiff for about 10 minutes I finally got Dean up again and when he asked if I wanted him to go look, I said, yes please. I hated to send him to do something I easily could have done myself, and I was not ready to go searching the house for a bear. So he went. No bear. No sign of bear. Elvis had left the building! Then I slept. And woke this morning to clean the kitchen and be grateful for such a small amount of damage. Plans for today include some more bear-prevention measures. Phew.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Moving Saga

Home at last. I left them to it about 11:30 and came home to a big homemade burger. Dean had even gone to the store. It has been four days that felt like a month of intense and continual physical labor. And when I wasn’t packing boxes or playing with the kids I felt like I was slacking off. Finally this morning Michelle and I just stood in an already empty living room and laughed and hugged and said, “No More Guilt”. She was feeling guilty that I had had to do as much as I did. I was feeling guilty I had done as little as I did. Now we are fine.

I was very pleased with the crew of friends that showed up at 9 this morning. They had three dads and teenage sons, one man on his own, one mom and teenage daughter, Michelle, me and Akira and Trinity. And everyone of us was working, working. The two youngest ones were amazing. They would do anything asked of them and there was plenty they could do. I finished packing the kitchen, made several runs to the new place with sheets to put in the laundry and things from the fridge and freezer. Akira went with me as did Peggy and we got a lot done. I left Peggy in charge of continuing the laundry.

By the time I called Michelle to say I had made it home, the truck was being loaded a second time and everyone was going to stop and eat pizza. They have until the 5th to be out so they will come back evenings next week and clean and get the very last of the things. Phew. Dean and I are both enjoying the quiet of our deck and forest. Grateful for family and for space.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wandering Morning Thoughts

So much pain in the world. A lone gunman bent on revolution shoots an island full of young people at a youth camp in Norway while also blowing up city buildings. A young recording artist dies at the short end of a drug-filled life. A father in Texas gets into a “domestic dispute” and kills five people at a roller rink birthday party. And those are just three of the headlines from this morning. So much pain ~ hurt so deep that people become destructive of themselves and others. So much pain ~ because of the death of friends, family members, even strangers.

I look up from the computer and out my window to see two little squirrels playing chase in the yard ~ up the tree, down the tree, around and around and up the tree and down again. I smile. Their antics bring sense of peace and joy. When there is So Much pain, it sometimes takes very little to bring a smile, a feeling of release. Even one moment’s breath of fun helps balance the soul and put things back in order. Yes, the pain goes on. Private and personal, communal and shared. And . . . And . . . there are squirrels playing chase in the yard and Pine Sol works to keep the bears away. ~ enjoy your day in hope and with blessings.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Belated Thank You

I have just read P. D. James’ Talking About Detective Fiction. I went on line to send her the following comment ~ and the one website/email connection I could find didn’t work. So - here it is for you to read and pass on if just happen to know P. D. James.

Dear Ms. James ~

Your wonderful novels are among my favorites and so it was with pleasure that I have just found and read Talking About Detective Fiction. At the end you say,

"We do not expect popular literature to be great literature, but fiction which provides excitement, mystery and humour also ministers to essential human needs. . . . The detective story at its best can stand in such company, and its popularity suggests that in the twenty-first century, as in the past, many of us will continue to turn for relief, entertainment and mild intellectual challenge to these unpretentious celebrations of reason and order in our increasingly complex and disorderly world."

Yes! When I was only 55 my first husband died very suddenly and unexpectedly. My world became chaotic and challenging. And I could not read. My soul would withdraw from the page in front of me as if away from some horror. It did not matter what the book or the subject matter. Finally after several months, I pulled out an old Agatha Christie book of short stories, mostly Miss Marple I believe, and began to read again. Slowly I was able to enter that well-ordered, calm world allowing her and later Poirot to solve the problems. Having them solve their problems gave me the ability to face mine a little more easily. Gradually I moved to her novels, then to other writers of mystery with whom I was familiar. Eventually I bought a brand new mystery I had not read before and felt a part of my healing was done.

Thank you again for your novels and insights into other writers of detective fiction ~

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Swim Lesson

Yesterday was a wonderful day! I left here early and was in Carson before 9. Took Akira to his swim lesson. Such fun to watch him. They watched a safety video then got in the water ~ in life jackets because they had not worn them before and because they were learning about water safety and wearing them while doing water sports.

After jumping in from the side and swimming back, they jumped from the end of the low diving board. The other children walked to the end and froze, taking some time to jump. Akira had trouble walking out to the end ~ admits he was nervous.
Once there the jump was No Problem and he looked like he was flying.
He is becoming very comfortable in the water and able to deal with himself there very well. I am Very Proud. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Too Early

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear. (Emily Bronte)

Interesting to find this particular verse in the Writers’ Almanac this morning. I am not sure I felt this spiritual about it at 5:20 this morning when I woke to the unmistakable sounds of an ursine intruder. Whatever I felt, I was out of bed, found my pan and spoon even in a still dark bathroom and went banging away. He had done exactly what I had thought last time. He had gotten his shoulder under the window, the window was Wide open and he was half way in. He looked bigger than ever ~ and bless him, he still doesn’t like the banging. So he backed out and headed off. Once he was definitely going, I ran out on the deck and continued banging away. May have waked the neighbors. Know I woke Dean. Too bad. I refuse to have a bear in my kitchen regardless of the hour. And true to the poem, it wasn’t fear I felt. Adrenaline was flowing of course. Mainly I was just pissed at being awakened and intruded upon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Sunny Day in San Francisco

What an amazing day!! After a late breakfast with Mike and Dean, I headed out. I stopped at Starbucks for a chai latte and cheese danish and a little more reading, actually finishing my book. Then I headed on down the street to the Apple Store. Made it in plenty of time for my one o’clock session.

I told Patrick my problem with the picture being corrupted and he had me show him the notice. Then we went to work searching for the original which he said was stored somewhere on my computer. We found it after some doing around. He said my problem was really rare and he almost apologized for having to teach me how to deal with it when he wasn’t sure I would ever have to deal with it again. The neat thing was, he knew what to do and we did it and I finished my book for Trinity and Akira. I was waiting for him to answer a couple more questions when Nick stopped by and said “You came back” ~ I told him why and that I had a couple of more questions and then would start another project. He answered those questions for me and then Dean showed up ~ he was done early and so I told Nick and Patrick good-bye, thanked them profusely and came out to have a sunny afternoon date in San Francisco with my husband. :D

We came back to the hotel just as the maid reached our room so we took our book and computer to the Library on the 11th floor and sat in Huge leather chairs in front of a fire. I read and Dean did stuff on the computer for about an hour. We came back to the room, rested a bit and then went upstairs to the hotel’s complimentary happy hour. Delightful. Beautiful view. Nice piano music. And when I hesitated about what to drink, our server said they had virgin drinks and in the process of listing she suggested a virgin Mai Tai. It was Delicious: oj, pineapple juice and Grenadine. She put in a splash of soda - not even noticeable to me in the first one, more so in the second. Now I know to order it made with the juices, not the mix. Made at home with mint it would be yummy too. :)

Dean says this was very much old time military officers’ club atmosphere. I was very aware of the difference in the women and me. They were officers’ wives - they were all very, very neat ~ no sneakers for them. Many of the men were in suits and ties. Of course there was one in a sweat shirt - but his wife was carrying on the tradition.

Afterwards we took a Cable Car!!! - first time ever for me - to Fisherman’s Wharf and had dinner at Scoma’s. Delicious sea food. Dean had a prawn cocktail and I have never tasted such tender, sweet prawns. He had grilled king salmon and I had grilled Alaskan halibut. Oh my -- my culinary vocabulary is being taxed to the limit this trip. We have eaten well: Italian, Irish, Asian, Wharf-side seafood and for lunch one day I had Greek and Dean had Indian. We walked around the wharf, going down to Pier 39 which Dean said he remembered as a pier. Now it is almost a mall although the stores are separate and you are still outside over the water.

Dessert was ice cream from a shop on the pier and then back to the cable car. We saw them turn it around -- and they do that By Hand - well more by sheer physical force except that the machinery is well-oiled and works beautifully so pushing it around is relatively easy considering what they are doing. I wouldn’t want to do it though.

Back up and down the hills we came to the hotel. What a delightful, delightful afternoon and evening with my honey. Dean actually planned it this way knowing he would be done early in the day and we leave tomorrow so that we had some time to do just a little of San Francisco together. Very nice indeed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

Dean called last night and I walked down (literally) about 2 blocks and met them at a Wonderful Italian restaurant. I had the most amazing salad and the best minestrone soup Ever. If Dean had had steak I would have had a bite. As it was, I wasn’t comfortable asking Tom for a bite of his. That’s ok. They had wonderful bread and forgot to bring it to our table. I would love to have had some bread with my salad and soup and I am sure I slept better last night without it.

I was stiff this morning and didn’t really want to get up ~ but did since all I had to do was slip into my gym clothes and go to breakfast with Dean.

Went to the gym, feeling more comfortable today. Had to borrow a man’s height to get one machine back where I use it. Otherwise I didn’t bother anyone and I felt much more at ease.

Everyone has their opinion about what I should be doing with my time in SF. Tom wants me to really sightsee and go places and walk across the Golden Gate bridge. That’s is something really neat to do and frankly I would like to do that with Dean. Dean wants me to go to the Apple store and take as many courses as I can. Have to be sure I do what I want to do - too old to have to please others around something as ephemeral as a visit to a city.

== nothing is ever easy even with a Mac. I finally had to call then had to go on line, change my profile so that my store was listed as SF instead of Reno and when I go home will have to do that again. *sigh* - Really Big *sigh*.

lovely lunch. There is a little cafe called Persimmon just down the street - less than 1/2 block. Tom mentioned it as we were coming up last night altho I don’t remember if he was being sarcastic or not. I checked it out for lunch, liked what I saw on the outside menu and had lunch: spanakopita (sp?) with yogurt and minestrone - not as good as last night and light and easy to eat and then for dessert baklava - oh Yum!!! Blessings on San Francisco. :D

Wonderful session at the Apple store. I ended up taking on a personal project and learning how to create a book. Chose Megan as my subject, created a book of some pictures from birth including mostly times in Tahoe. I actually bought it and they will send it to me and I will take it to Megan when we go to meet Emily. Fun stuff. Like Dean says, I am dangerous. It cost less than $20 to have the book printed and bound and shipped. Nice. Now I need to create another one while I still remember how to do it.

Home early which is nice. Time to rest a bit, show Dean my book, and take it easy. These guys are having long, hard and amazingly productive days. Dean's tired as am I. Early bed time I think. It's a good trip so far.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Random Thoughts

I am So Grateful I decided to stay with my PT gym!! Too many machines, too many hard bodies ~ and I had to decide if I could my shuttle pushes from a sitting position.

All Borders in SF are closed. I found (with some help) Alexander’s. Good choice - and could probably have bought all the books on line and read them on my computer. Passed a lovely little bakery with lunch sandwiches and salads so returned there to eat and read.

San Franciscans wear scarves the year round like Bostonians.

There is a big city walk that kicks in from cellular memory no matter how long it has been since you were in one.

I have discovered a “faces” page on my updated iPhoto and so have been naming family photos. Ever so often a picture will come up and it will ask “Is this so and so?” The family resemblances are very interesting. Carly and Carter were often mistaken for the other. Dean was asked about or not identified over and over and twice it asked if Dave Pierce were Dean. Trinity is the enigma because her hair cut has changed so often -- and none of Joshua’s theatre head shots were identified as him - as it should be I guess as he was in character in most of them. Amanda was mixed up with Kaitlyn a couple of times. Very interesting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pooh and the Honey Pot

Remember cute, cuddly Pooh Bear and his honey pot and his little “smackeral” about 11 in the morning? Fantasy. I am sitting on my window seat when I hear something rattling the kitchen screen. Thinking it is the aggressive squirrel, I clap my hands, say something ordinary like, “oh, go away” and glance up to see a Huge furry arm (leg?) and shoulder blocking my now totally open window and reaching for the honey pot. OMG!!!!

I jump up, race past him to where I have left my metal pan and spoon (so I don’t have to go into the kitchen at night to make them leave), grab the bear-scaring tools and head back to the kitchen. He is not the Least Bit interested in me - he wants the honey. It is after all 4 pm, time for a little snack.

When I first started the banging, he looks up at me like “what?” I kept banging and started yelling and as soon as he headed across the deck, I ran out onto the deck and kept banging and yelling. My neighbor was casually walking up his back yard. I hollered to him to look even though the bear was heading up our yard. I both wanted him to see the bear but also to be safe from the bear - who was not interested in us in the least.

About 15 minutes earlier I had come inside from sitting on the deck. Was I ever glad for that! Bears move Very quietly and if I had remained sitting where I was, I would have looked up to see this bear passing me and attacking my window. Just as glad that didn’t happen. He was probably 300 lbs ~ and cuddly as could be. I can understand why people want to get near them. I had to keep focused instead of going over and handing him the honey and petting him ~ not that he would have let me do that. I would also have loved a picture - and the camera was right there - and . . . the important thing was to get the bear Out of the house. He was coming in.

Ah, life in the mountains. For now I am enjoying the lovely afternoon rain storm.

~ blessings in your quiet and peaceful or at least bear-free life

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th

July 4th. The day on which in 1776 King George III wrote in his diary something like, “Nothing much happened today.” And yet today there will be fireworks, parades, picnics, and parties. Why? Because today - also in 1776 - a group of good, caring, deeply committed men finally committed to paper an incredible act of both treason and independence and declared themselves and their fledgling country separate and free from the mother country. This bold step came after long philosophical struggles among them followed by very harsh consequences in their personal lives as some died in the war while others lost homes and property and even families to the war.

And yet that day, the Declaration they signed became a beacon to all the world of hope and freedom from oppression. Several years later, other men voted into being a Constitution, declaring how free persons should govern themselves and the rights and privileges of such a government.

My family is planning a delightful party on the deck tonight. Some 20 people will come and party and celebrate. We will hike to a point above the house and watch the fireworks over the lake. And in the midst of all this frivolity and fun, I will ask us to raise a glass to Thomas, Ben and John (Jefferson, Franklin and Adams) and their cohorts who braved the storms of tradition and declared the United States to be a free and independent nation. Please, join us in a salute to the country we were meant to be. Have a fun and safe fourth. ~ blessings

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Family Weekend

We have had two wonderful days of fun and relaxation with the family. Yesterday we went to friend Paul’s private lake and spent the day water skiing, tubing, knee boarding, eating and visiting. This day allowed for this classic picture of water-skiing on a hot day under the snow-capped mountains.

Today we went to a Tahoe Beach where the water was colder and the kids had a good time floating on the lake and paddling around. Dean and I sat and took pictures and enjoyed the shore of our delightful lake.

Home once the wind rose, to showers, pizza, ice cream and several quick rounds of some card game the kids have been trying to get their dad to play all day. :)