Monday, September 29, 2014

Back to the Basics

No matter who your company is. No matter how much you love having them in your house, want them there (because you invited them), enjoy the conversation and the fun. No matter. Having company still breaks up your normal routine. It just does. And it’s OK. I like having my normal routine broken for people I love and enjoy being with and sharing our deck, our town and our beautiful lake and forest. 

And once they leave, it is time to get back to our basics, the way we live our day to day lives. Monday: up and dressed for gym. Dishwasher unloaded. Trash gathered to go out. Dog fed. Breakfast eaten. Laundry separated and ready to go once I am home from gym. Letters to grands written and ready to mail. Two packages ready to send to two of those friends who visited and left things behind. Back to the basics and grateful for it all. ~ the blessings of basics, may you have a lot of them. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rainy Day Chore

Several years ago - at least 4 because I know it was before hip surgery - Dean came home from a morning at yard sales with two very old, authentic Navaho blankets. We immediately knew we wanted to hang them in the bedroom. I rolled them gently and put them on a shelf and there they have stayed, out of sight, protected but never far from the front of my mind which has been wanting to get the bedroom painted for so long. And now it has been. And this morning is grey, damp and chilly. The perfect weather for an indoor chore.

Dean has a shop. The question is not "does Dean have" but rather "where does Dean keep his (any shop tool of any size you can think of)? He is handy to have around.

These have never been dyed but are in natural wool tones. They are scruffy and have holes in the them in places. They are perfect.

And they look beautiful on our walls. A job well done. 

The Sadness of Silence

== a thought that has been recurring recently. I wish I could remember my mom’s voice. If necessary, I have tapes of Dad and Rex (mainly singing but that’s ok) so can access them. Mom died when I was 16 and I don’t remember her voice and that makes me sad. 

I believe Michelle even has a tape of her dad reading Dr. Seuss’s Oobleck for Joshua. Voices are so important. Another professor called Rex’s answering machine at the college one more time, just to hear his voice again after he heard of Rex’s death. When I was traveling so much, I told Rex we needed to change our answering machine to his voice so when I called home and he wasn’t there, I could at least hear his voice. He laughed and said that very week, he had listened to my message several times just to hear my voice. 

Voices tell us someone is close. Remember being a teen and not wanting to hang up the phone with your sweetheart because it would break that vocal connection and somehow separate you further? Even when we are touching another person, we like to hear their voice ~ think about sitting by the bed of someone coming out of surgery. You know they are fine, you are holding their hand, and you want them to wake so you can hear their voice. You answer the phone and someone says your name and you know who it is even though you haven’t heard that voice in years. 

Voices are important and death takes them away. And now I can’t remember, it makes me sad.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Clear Mountain Skies

As promised here are pictures of our clear skies.

A walk earlier this year.

Last week showing off the new stain on the house. 

Mt. Shasta last April when we went camping in Ashland.
Last week all the smoke and so this morning I post pictures to show
you our clear skies and guess what? It is cloudy and raining. Really raining. Not so few
drops that I can name them, but really raining, clearing the air of smoke, soaking the
ground to take away the threat of fire, and making a start on the relief of the draught.
So although our skies are not blue this morning, I am very grateful for grey. 
~ blessings on your day whatever the color of your sky

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Smoke in the Mountains

The way it started in Tahoe

Webber Lake the day Dean's fly fishing club tried to fish there.

Coming home through Incline.

Mt. Shasta on our way home from Ashland

Coming through Squaw Valley on our way home from Ashland. 
Although we have not been threatened by the fire itself, the smoke has made breathing difficult in the late afternoon and through the night. 
We may be clearing. Next blog will be some pictures of how it has been in the early morning and the way we like it to be. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Smoky Sun

== and all of a sudden there was smoke. One breath was normal, the next filled with smoke. There was fire. It was so strong that we actually looked around the house and then we noticed the sun. Wind from the west which had been blowing for several hours had brought smoke from a fire about 100 miles away. The sun was red, that intense color that smoke causes when moving between you and the sun. 

We are grateful it is not close to us. We closed doors and windows, made plans to eat inside at the dining table, and we all dealt with the effects: itchy eyes, raspy throats, and allergy headaches. The wind has stopped so maybe all will be well very shortly. And for this much smoke to come this far this fast, there are people and animals in harms way. Blessings to them. All we have to deal with is itchy eyes. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lake Time

Lazy Sunday. Pack up some deli salads, bread for sandwiches, Fritos, water, tea, and a bite of sweet for dessert and head to the beach. This is "our" beach about 3 minutes from the house. Mostly we were the only ones there. It is lovely and fascinating and very, very low. You will see in the pictures a dark green strip of foliage. That is the usual high water mark. We need a couple of winters of deep snows to restore the lake.
My boys love walking the beach.

I can just sit and watch even if nothing is happening.

Running through the water straight between mom and dad.

A fun day at the lake makes a dog smile. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Here's the List!

OK - so a friend has “tagged” me to list the 10 most influential books in my life. I was sort of hoping that wouldn’t happen, but now that it has, I will do it and see what results. Of course, this is me, so you don’t get just a list, you get more of an annotated bibliography. :)
  1. Mary Poppins: when I was in the third grade and we returned to an unairconditioned school at the beginning of a Hot September, our teacher would take us out under some trees after lunch and read to us. One of the books was Mary Poppins. My parents had read to me all my short life but Mary Poppins did what no other book had done. It opened the possibility of books to me: the possibility of magic, of adventure, and of being able to read the story over and over again. So began my love of books. 
  2. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo: the true adventure of a WWII bombing raid. The book came in a set my parents bought me when I was about 11 ~ one book a month. This one became ragged around the edges as I read a real life adventure over and over. Real life could be as amazing as fiction.
  3. Wait ’Til the Moon is Full: a children’s book that I still give to my grandchildren. What I remembered even when I didn’t remember the rest of it was the description of the new moon which was “as thin as the curve of a raccoon’s whisker.” 
  4. A Tale of Two Cities
  5. A Christmas Carol: both by Charles Dickens whose writing is intense and whose insights into the world around him helped change that world. Would that I could. 
  6. The Bible: probably not one of the books that the creator of this challenge was thinking might be listed and it has certainly influenced me. I was raised going to church every Sunday. I “read” the Christmas story before I could read. I use Biblical references and analogies quite often in every day conversations. And I am still in love with the “ah-hah” moments when some present experience highlights for me the meaning of some known scripture. 
  7. Stranger in a Strange Land: this was the “cult” book of my generation. We inhaled it. We learned from it. We still talk about “groking”. It changed us.
  8. The Prophet: wise words, challenging, illuminating, helpful
  9. Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs: I was drowning in my own despair because no one seemed to understand and then a friend gave me this book. I read what she had to say about Aquarians and I wept. I was not alone. Someone understood. And for my Age at least I was normal. What a relief!
  10. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: the first Agatha Christie I ever read and it set me on a mystery reading path I continue on today. 
  11. The Sixth Extinction: this is your bonus ~ and the last book I read finishing it just the other day. It has raised my awareness of what is happening in the world around me and has me reading headlines with deeper insight. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Out to Eat

Last night we went out to eat. No, we didn't go Out. To. Eat. We simply had dinner somewhere else besides home.

So? Here's the deal. We live in a resort area with lots of Wonderful places to eat. What we don't have - or at least I have always said - is the little ordinary place, a diner maybe, with reasonable prices, where you can go and get a nice evening meal when it is almost 7 when Dean gets home and I've been busy all day or maybe neither one of us wants to cook. Ordinary.

Dean does list them for me occasionally but I am still skeptical. Our summer crowds went home on Labor Day. There are a few tourists left but not many. And so we drove into town and went to Rosie's for the first time in a long time. I had a salad, Dean had soup and we split his plate of fried chicken. I had half a breast and half his zucchini and mashed potatoes. Perfect. Small, ordinary meal. We sat on the deck and watched the sunset over the lake and the dragonflies arrive. A little bird settled down on the rail over Dean's shoulder and just sat there for a long time before flying away.

We ate, we came home. So simple and easy and ordinary. And somebody else cooked and cleaned up.  Thank you! ~ with blessings

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sixth Extinction

Just finished The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. This is a fascinating book that looks at the history of the planet, the rise and extinction of any number of species and explores options for why the extinctions happened and why the one we are in the middle of is happening now. She also holds out hope that as humans we have the ability to look forward, see a problem and deal with it so that the worst case is avoided. She writes the science in such a way that a non-scientist like me can understand it. She is a story teller and even includes humor in what is in reality a very humorless tale. 

There have been Five Great Extinctions, traceable through fossils, geological history, and anthropological studies. By concentrating on one species per chapter, Kolbert weaves her way through history from millions of years ago to the present. Her list of acknowledgments and references is impressive. She has done her intellectual homework as well as her field work, going into oceans and caves to explore with working scientists the evolution of the planet. 

This book is well worth the read to keep you informed about what is happening in and to your world.