Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sage Hen Creek Hike

It was a beautiful June - uh - March day in Tahoe and Dean, Oso, neighbor Dianne and I took what is know around here as the Sage Hen Hike, an event that rarely happens before June.
The temperature was perfect. We were 4 of 10 or less folks on the trail. There were no flowers blooming and the hike itself was worth every step. 

Nice to sit at the edge of the meadow and rest half way through
 ~ have a treat or two and if you're human, a little lunch.

Friend Dianne who suggested the hike.
Thanks, Dianne! It was perfect.

Silly and fun

The creek ~ a fun place to jump in, drink and get cool.

Oso ran almost the whole 5 1/2 miles, 
back and forth, all around and had a great time, as did we. 

Country Ham

I grew up in Texas with frequent trips "home" to North Carolina where all the rest of my mom's family lived. This gave me a strong sense of being Southern. What I have learned living in California is that there are several things Californians do not understand:


Hush Puppies

Country fried steak (being different than chicken fried steak)

and Country Ham!

Now this may look like your regular ham, but it isn't. There is something in the sugar/salty curing that makes it very different. I have had it so salty it would make your lips shrivel up. This that we brought home from our trip east last week is not that salty. Just perfect I would say. 
Of course country ham isn't absolutely perfect without eggs and grits.

I took a picture of my plate (no grits) and Dean always prepares his own grits on Sunday morning.
What California does understand is orange juice! Fresh oranges from Costco, squeezed within minutes of drinking, added sweet delight to country ham and eggs (and grits). Nice to bring a little Southern home with us!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fun New Learning

I seem to learn about my technology by friendly accident. As in ~ my friend says, “I have an iPhone 6 now and one thing I really like is that it tells me how many steps I take in a day.” Oh really? I have an iPhone 6 and I didn’t know that. Well, it does. There is a little “Health” icon and one of the things in that app that is just there is how many steps you take, how many miles you walk and how many steps you climb.

Yesterday, before I ever realized this was possible to learn, I had my phone on me through 2569 steps, 1.15 miles and 10 floors climbed. 

That doesn’t include gym steps or miles when I usually put my phone down. Or early morning when I am getting dressed, feeding Oso and messing around the kitchen before breakfast. Those steps may never be recorded. I will record what I can in gym. The 10 floors probably come close although I realize I have been downstairs already this morning without my phone. It obviously works in my purse because the steps are usually climbed with my purse slung over my shoulder. 

What a discovery! I’m going to have fun for a while. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Very Special Thank You

As most of you who read this through FaceBook know, our Puck has pneumonia in his left lung. We are grateful for mom’s tuition who decided it was time to go beyond pushing fluids and getting rest, a doctor who knows when a lung doesn’t sound quite right and that it is time to take treatment to another level. All will be well. Antibiotics, an inhaler and no need to admit to the hospital. 

His mom posted his chest X-ray on FB with a description similar to what I said above and the comments started coming in. Many, many people “liked” that he would be better. So many people commented sharing caring, prayers, words of encouragement for both Puck and his family. 

And in the midst of all that outpouring of care, Puck realized for the first time in his life how many people really did care about him. In his words: 
"Huh. That's an indescribable feeling knowing that so many people are thinking about me. Thank you.”

We are indeed surrounded by a great cloud of caring and love from folks who reach out to us in so many good and positive ways. Puck’s awareness of that fact has been raised and his family is grateful for it too. Thank you. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Adventure of One Glitch

Home again, home again. We had one glitch adventure. Just as Dean walked up to the airport counter last night to check departure time once again, the flight was cancelled. Because he was standing right there, we got the first attention from the very nice gate agent who gave us seats on a flight out early the next morning and a voucher for our hotel stay. They put us in the Marriott and Dean upgraded to the concierge floor. As we were checking in I said I was going to stop at the Lobby Shop and buy toothpaste and a brush. The desk clerk said, oh we have those. When she checked and they were out she had them with a razor and shaving soap brought to the room. Being on the concierge floor, we went to the lounge and had some cheese, crackers, salad, dip, and sweets. Not much but just enough that we didn’t have to go out to dinner anywhere. 

What I am grateful for: free stuff, a hot shower, hairdryer.

Pleasant hotel and airline staff

People who were already at work at the very early hour of 5:30 when we arrived at the airport, went through security, and had a lovely breakfast at Wolfgang Puck’s. 

The knowledge to de-ice a plane and have it moving back from the gate on time. 

Seats on a plane even though they were middle ones way back in the back.

A flight attendant who requested people remain in their seats for just a few minutes after landing so that about 20 of us trying to make flights before 10 o’clock could make it out and to our flights. I kept saying Thank You to them all the way up the aisle. Got lots of smiles in return. 

Dean’s two great ideas today: leave me and the baggage (heavy even though it rolled) on the curb while he went to get the car and bring it around and Dickey’s for lunch. Having had breakfast at 4 am Reno time, by 12:15 I was ready for lunch. 

A clean house to come home to. 

A dog glad to see us. 

A massage chair whose “fatigue recovery” setting has already done its magic. 

It was a wonderful trip and the glitch in the last 18 hours was ready as painless as a glitch can be. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rest in Peace, Kevin

This afternoon Dean and I attended a community gathering in Celebration of the life of the young man I wrote about having committed suicide. The most wonderful thing about the whole afternoon was that the speakers did not back away from the fact that Kevin had a disease that finally overcame him. He was someone with amazing vision for all sorts of possibilities and in the end, he couldn't see any. And that part of his story was told.

And ~ so were all the wonderful stories of his humor, his gentleness, his delight in life and his family and his children. We laughed and cried and came a little closer to understanding. We sat outside under pine trees blown by the wind in the warm sunshine. We were there in generational numbers from tiny babies to grandmothers older than I am. We were the Tahoe community, dressed in our ski pants and cycling shorts, sneakers and hiking boots, vests and sweaters and sweat pants. All there because in some way Kevin had touched our lives.

Dean had worked closely with him in the planning of several events at the Nordic Center that have taken off and become tradition. He taught (or at least tried to teach) me how to skate ski. He was So patient. He knew our dogs sometimes meeting them before he saw them with us. 

The afternoon was perfect. And because we are leaving early in the morning for a week away, we came home when the speeches were over. Many, many people were staying for food and drink and sharing stories of our very special friend. May he rest in Peace knowing he is loved.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Personal History ~ 3

Naming. When I married in 1960, a woman Always took her husband’s name. There was no question about this. And so I wrote “Mrs. Rex Mix” in many of my school books. Practiced writing the name and drew hearts around it. I had been married about 18 months when the news came out of the newly rising women’s movement that there was no law that said a woman had to take her husband’s name. It was only tradition and one of those used to perpetuate possession. 

That news arrived and I thought, well, that makes a lot of sense. Knowing that no woman will ever take her husband’s name again. Of course I was wrong. Most women still do. However, as I was in theatre and my name appeared often on play bills, I started listing it as Susan Shank Mix including my maiden name as my middle name. I had no other middle name as my parents expected me to marry and begin to sign my name this way. (Are you aware of how many assumptions about women are in this blog?)

One day when I was in my late 20s I sent a play bill to a church event to which I was taking a production. Once again I was listed as Susan Shank Mix. The church leader called me. 

“We always list our women as Mrs. So & So.”

“That’s fine. And you will list me as Susan Shank Mix.”

“Well, we do it differently. We might list you as Mrs. Rex (Susan) Mix.”

“No. You will list me as Susan Shank Mix.”

(After another few minutes of this, I was fed up.)

“Look. This has nothing to do with Rex. He is not in the play. He didn’t direct it or have any part in the staging. He may, but only may, drive one of the cars that brings us there. You will list me as Susan Shank Mix.” 

And he did and years later when I reminded him of the incident, he was so embarrassed. Could not believe he had done that. 

This one incident really defined my name for me. Tradition gave me my first name ~ Susan is a family name. Tradition gave me my middle name ~ children take the name of their father. Tradition gave me my last name ~ when I married women took the name of their husband. But I chose to go by the three names. I chose my name within the parameters I lived. 

And so when I married again after Rex’s death, I chose to stay with the name that I had chosen. Dean would have liked for me to take his name, and, bless him, he understood after hearing the above explanation and married the woman I am. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

History of a Different Kind

Found out last night that one of the young men involved in the racial chant at OU was a graduate of Highland Park High School. Tainted by association more than 50 years later. Students have come to the school’s defense saying his actions do not represent the school, students, faculty or alumni. I appreciate that. I still feel a wrench in my gut - he came from my school. When we were talking about it last night, Dean even said he felt “violated”. 

Yes, we grew up in the south in the 50’s. Racism was rampant. As white children we didn’t realize it, and some of us knew something was out of kilter. As we grew into awareness, we recognized and tried to do something about it. We joined the Civil Rights movement. We did big things. We did small things. But we tried to grow and learn and change what we could. 

I hope the students today will learn more from who we became than who one of their fellows is today. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Personal History ~ 2

So - second piece of my history. I was one of the first who was prescribed The Pill for safe, effective contraception. I married at 18 and still wanted to attend college and my doctor told me about the pill. What none of us knew then was that the first generation of the pill was much stronger than it needed to be. Ergo: I was sick. I would go to wedding showers and ask if I could lie down. Someone even commented that I didn’t seem too happy about getting married. And of course we didn’t talk about it. I and everyone around me would have been shocked if I had said, “Oh, no, I’m very excited. I’ve just started on The Pill and am having some side effects.” I mean that would have acknowledged I was going to have sex after I got married. 

Well, for all the mystique surrounding it then, the pill did its job and my generation became the first to really have a choice about when we had children. I took the pill, finished my BA, went off the pill and had my first child eleven months later. One with my MA, one with my PhD studies. A planned family. And now it is all so ordinary that I know school teachers who plan the birth of their children during spring or summer breaks. We’ve come a long way. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Personal History

Over the years because of different comments and my own thoughts about my life, I have wondered how different my life might have been had I gone to Harvard or Yale. I had the grades, the test scores, IQ, all the credentials. What might have happened had I applied?

The answer is I would not have been admitted because I am a woman! 

Yale became coed for the first time in 1969 and Harvard in 1977 when it merged with Barnard. But because I am now so used to women being able to attend any university they have the grades for, I had lost the perspective of timing.   

I believe you just may be in for several history blogs as I am realizing I lived on the cutting edge of the women’s rights movement. Stay tuned ~   

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Father Sky

Yesterday Dean went digging around in boxes under the house. Between us we have a Huge amount of Stuff. Once in a while though a gem appears. Dean says he thinks he bought this in the ‘60s when he was still in college. On the back, the artist has written: 

The stars, moon and the constellations are shown on the body of father sky. The zigzags crossing his shoulders, arms and legs form the Milky Way. Sands are natural colored rocks, ground. Sheep Spring’s T. P. Tohatchi, N. Mex. 

Good energy surrounds it and comes from it. The power of the Divine Creator shows up in many and varied forms. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Strange Choice

When I got up and pulled on grubby clothes this morning, I put on my gym shoes. I often wander the woods in them as well. Took Oso out and discovered that between the deck and the hill there had been no sun and the steep bank was icy. Solution? Go back in and change into my hiking boots. Do I do that relatively easy thing? No. Of course not. 

I make my way down the snow-cleared drive and up the steep berm between our house and next door. Only to find, I probably needed my boots anyway. Oh well. Walk where I can, letting Oso have a bit of a run and do what he needed to do ~ and smell the Very Clear bear tracks coming up on the other side of our neighbor’s house. Then I came back down the berm and back up the drive. A lot of energy expended so I didn’t have to change shoes. Silly me. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

I Can Do It!

When we decided to redo the kitchen (new counter tops, cook top, sink, disposal and faucets) I thought it would be a package deal. Tell the sales person at Lowe’s what we wanted and it would be done. 

Where’s a general contractor when you need him? That’s not quite how it works. The kitchen counter dude is not the appliance dude is not the tear out dude is not the installation dude ~ and the granite installation dude is not the appliance installation dude. Ergo: Somebody has a lot of organizing to do. Guess who? 

And then this morning it dawned on me. 
  1. I was a stage manager.
  2. I was the mother of the bride (MOTB) four times. 
OK ~ I can get this done. Onward and upward, my friends!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Little Bit Came to Tahoe

Toss of the pillows and climb up. She loves to rock.

Best picture is the one Dad just took of you.