Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

This Is Me.

Posted on | August 9, 2019 | 3 Comments

If you know any gardeners then you know that their gardens tend to resemble them. That person with a clean car, an integrated Google calendar, and a Dave Ramsey budget has a garden with perfect borders, straight rows, and neat plant markers. The person who pulls an outfit from the pile of clean laundry on the couch, leaves the plastic bags inside the cereal box ripped and gaping, and is always (at least) 10 minutes late has a garden with overflowing beds, a haphazard color scheme and some of last year’s dried husks still hanging from the trellis. It’s all OK–the garden does not judge (even if the neighbors do). The garden makes every effort to thrive where it is planted, which is probably a good life lesson for all of us.

My garden started out organized this spring. I rotated my crops appropriately, provided trellises and cage supports, grew beneficial companion flowers, and amended the soil with the last bit of compost in the barn. I even put down some weed cloth, which is not something I usually do, because I was expecting it to be a crazy busy summer. I thought the weed cloth might give me more time to focus on stuff outside the garden without worrying about weeds overrunning the plants.

Weed barriers were not enough preparation for my crazy busy summer. Not even close. My divorce got messy, I picked up way too much sidework to balance my finances, my teenagers tried to go off the rails, and my car decided to break down every 3-5 days. Weed barriers aren’t enough for that bullsh*t.

When I look back and think about the optimistic laying down of that weed cloth it reminds of when I walked into my divorce lawyer’s office for the first time.

“This is not going to be a problem,” I said. “We agree on everything for the most part and just need to do some paperwork.”

Now when my attorney and I recall that first conversation, we laugh and laugh and laugh. Then she hands me a bill for another $3,000.00

Weed cloth didn’t stand a chance against this summer. I staggered into the garden on occasion for produce, briefly taking note of developing pests and weeds, before rushing to make dinner for the boys, pick them up from one sport, drop them at the next sport, and then head into town to teach night class. Some mornings I slogged through the heavy dew to tie up the lankiest of plants, swearing I would mow as soon as the grass was dry in the afternoon. But by afternoon I was sitting at the local garage with a broken vehicle waiting for my parents to rescue me. Now at the height of summer, the garden is a jungle out of control—spring plants gone to seed, summer plants overgrown from months without pruning, weeds everywhere. It’s possible the weed cloth is still there, somewhere. It’s also possible the plants ate it back in June

Believe it or not, that’s a picture of the garden after I finally mowed it today. I had to put the mower on the highest setting and still stop to unclog it every 5 minutes. And even with the grass (sort of) mowed it still looked like….well, it looked like my life right now. Anyone driving by could take one look at my garden and know, “That gardener’s life is out of control.” I waitressed all though high school and college and we had saying on busy nights when we were falling behind on orders that we were “in the weeds.” People, we are in the weeds now.

But I didn’t even consider weeding that garden. Or pulling up the dead spring plants. Or pruning anything. At this point I just wanted to be able to walk through (most of) the rows to access the tomato plants. Not that the tomatoes were that spectacular. Horn worms, mildew, cracking and splitting were all taking their toll. Some of the tomatoes exactly mirrored the way I felt some of the days during the last 6 months. Have you ever felt like this? Yeah, I hear ya, mater.

So I walked along the tomato plants, pulling off the worst of the tomatoes and tossing them to the ground. Better for the plants to drop those tomatoes than to invest energy on broken, rotted fruit. After all, there were plenty of green tomatoes that just needed some time and sun to develop. Starting over was simply a matter of letting go. Which is another life lesson from the garden.

And as I moved along I couldn’t help but notice that the garden didn’t seem to mind the weeds or the chaos at all. There was the buzz of insects everywhere—bees, dragonflies, wasps, grasshoppers, those weird hummingbird moths. Butterflies were so prolific they brushed against my hair and my cloths as I walked. The sunflowers were broken and bent but although their majesty was lost, their seeds were still tempting the goldfinches dashing in and out of the garden for a snack.

At first glance the herbs were barely decipherable from the green around them. But when I knelt down I discovered they were all there—parsley, chamomile, lavender, basil, lovage, sage, mint, chives, oregano. Running my hands over the thick foliage filled the air with their scents. What is a little grass against the strength and power of herbs?

The truth is, upon closer inspection, the garden didn’t seem overwhelmed by the weeds at all. The garden seemed quite comfortable hanging out in the weeds. As if the weeds were just another stage of the cycle–nothing worth getting worked up over.

And that reminded me of when I showed up for a last-minute Sunday morning emergency therapy session. As soon as I got out of the car I started to tear up, only to find my therapist smiling broadly on the porch.

“It sounds like everything is completely out of your control,” he grinned. I nodded, choking on tears.

“Excellent!” he said, rubbing his hands together. “For the first time in your life you don’t have any control over things—you are a controlaholic at rock bottom!”

That’s good?” I sniffed miserably.

“Of course! When this time passes you can go right back to controlling every detail of your life. Or can choose to let some things go. But no matter what you will always know that even when everything is out of control, you’ll survive. Here you are—dressed, fed, on time, with a basket of tomatoes to share. Turns out maybe you didn’t need all that control after all. We should celebrate!”

This what a good therapist does, people. Takes your focus off all the little things. Helps you stand back and see the big picture. Lets you see the forest instead of just the trees. Or maybe the tomato plants instead of the weeds.

There was one garden row that I didn’t mow all the way through. I waited to take it on last because it was so thoroughly overgrown. It was where the wildflower bed and the blueberry bush bed were pretty much grown completely together. Oh, I tried to mow it. I was pushing the mower as hard as I could, occasionally tilting it up to let clumps of grass free, sometimes dragging it backwards to get a closer cut, but still the mower choked and stalled, choked and stalled. At one point the mower cut off and I stood there, pouring sweat, my arms shaking. I looked at the cosmos flowers that spread across the path.

I listened to the bees buzzing around happily.

I stood back and saw what I had accomplished. A barely discernible path, dead-ending in a spray of wildflowers. I knew there was some black plastic at the ends of the wildflower bed. I knew I had carefully placed weed cloth around each blueberry bush. But all that was lost in the brush. Somewhere on the other side of those cosmos, just past the overgrown tomatillos threatening to topple their cage, the path started up again. But it seemed like a lot of effort to mow those flowers down, just to get to the other side. So I stopped and started dragging the mower out of the garden, back up to the house. And when I looked back over my shoulder. I thought,

“Oh. That’s me.”

The garden always reveals the gardener. And there I was in that half-mowed row. Those pretty pink blooms with their happy bees, all mixed up with the best laid plans overrun with weeds. A clearing on the other side, a bit of unknown inbetween.

That path didn’t look great, but it wasn’t all that alarming either. Just had a lot of stuff going on. And some of those cracked and blemished tomatoes I found on the tomato plants still made incredible tomato sandwiches. Weeds ain’t got nothin’ on a fresh tomato sandwich.

Muuuuvin’ On.

Posted on | June 12, 2019 | 4 Comments

So where was I?

I have no idea so let’s just start where we’re at, shall we? I haven’t posted in so long that the formatting on WordPress has changed. Which should make this post very interesting. If you consider lots of random spacing and a variety of photo placements to be interesting. Turns out I was 11 versions of WordPress behind. I failed to update to the latest version of WordPress for many years because I had no idea how to make a backup of my previous posts. Even my IT guy didn’t know how to do it since I had so many posts and was so many versions behind. But WordPress advises you very strongly against updating versions without a backup. So I just didn’t update.

Until today. Today I sat down to write a post, saw how much time had elapsed since my last post and thought, “Whatever.” And I hit the update button. Everything I’ve ever written could have disappeared into the ethernet. I think the word “ethernet” actually refers to some odd computer cable that your crappy rural internet service provider always blames for outages when the problem is really their crappy internet service. But if the word “ethernet” was used properly, obviously it would refer to the black hole of the Internet where all your work disappears when you didn’t bother to save an updated copy. In this case I fully expected all my posts to disappear into the the ethernet. But all that happened was that a new version of WordPress appeared with annoying new formatting.

Huh. Very anti-climatic. I probably didn’t need the shot of whiskey ahead of time. But better to be prepared, people, be prepared. Unless being prepared means backing up your work on a regular basis. Who the hell does that?

There’s probably a bunch of reasons that I was willing to risk all that writing being swept away. Seems pretty dicey for a 46 year old woman whose normal idea of of dicey is limited to things like driving the kids to the school drop off line in the morning without putting on a bra. Or having that second cup of coffee before starting a 2 hour hike. Some of those reasons probably include getting older and learning to let go. Living in an RV teaches you a lot about letting go. Divorce teaches you a lot about letting go. Watching four kids grow up teaches you a lot about letting go. Having an employer who believes constant inexplicable change is the best way to reinvigorate employees teaches you a lot about letting go. But the biggest reason is probably the muumuus.

I find it shocking that some people have never heard of muumuus. If you’ve never heard of one, try asking your Grandma. She knows what a muumuu is, for sure. Now some people consider a house dress to be a muumuu, but I strongly disagree. A house dress is for the first cup of coffee before the day starts or for sitting down on the sofa when the day is done. A muumuu has work to do and places to go. It’s the older generation’s version of the messy hair bun. My grandmother wore her muumuu for everything from cleaning the chicken coop to getting groceries, hitting tag sales or visiting the neighbors.

I usually settle for a pair of athletic shorts and a T-shirt as my day-off attire. That way I can move easily from a morning hike to the daily errands, from working in the garden to picking up and dropping off kids. But this year, when we had a full week of 90+ degrees in May, I decided it was time to go old school. Time for the muumuu. I headed to Goodwill to check out the options. You can find muumuus in lots of places but the best ones are from thrift stores. Thrift store muumuus are just dresses of cotton or linen or any other soft fabric that have the dressy already washed out. They are like retired racehorses or rescued greyhounds—a tad faded, a bit stretched out, but still functioning with just a hint of grandeur. Stains, tears, or loose threads are a no-no but a loose neckline, no waistband, and lots of flow are essential. Bright colors are the norm but feel free to choose a dignified navy or soothing pastel. If you’ve chosen a nice neutral shade of cat for your home (as I wisely did) her cat hair will be sure to go with all of your muumuus.

Of course, the original muumuu didn’t come from Goodwill. Muumuus came from the South Pacific when the Protestant missionaries arrived and tried to cover up Polynesian women with a two layered outfit consisting of a loose, high necked, floor length dress called the “holoku” and an outer chemise that lacked a yoke and was shorter. That outer chemise was called a “mu’umu’u” which meant “cut off” since it was shorter and didn’t have the high neck. While the holoku is still a part of formal traditional wear, the mu’umu’u was quickly accepted as everyday wear on its own. And it’s just as suitable for heat and humidity here as it is for the heat and humidity of the South Pacific.

So for $24 I picked up a six pack of muumuus to get me through the summer. Before May was over I was cruisin’ around in cool, casual, comfort. As soon as I got off work at 6am I was out of my uniform and into my muumuu to water the garden, drop Little at school, and take the recycling at the dump. After the gym I was showered and into my muumuu to pick up groceries, hit the library, meet a friend for brunch, and then fire up the grill for dinner. The other day as Pretty got into the car for me to take her to a doctor’s appointment she looked at my blue flowery muumuu and asked, “Are you going somewhere?” The lime green muumuu with hot pink palm tree gets compliments everywhere (People think it’s from Lilly Pulitzer. Hah!) Muumuus are magical—it seems like you made an effort when you’re actually just enjoying good air flow and a day without pants.

And not all muumuus are shapeless sacks. I mean, the best ones are, but you can kick it up a notch if you want to. I have a few that stop their graceful flow just above my knees and a couple with the bodice just fitted enough to show that yes, I did wear a bra today. This muumuu has been updated for an evening out and given lots of extra air flow. It kind of reminds me of a muumuu that’s started drinking a little too early in the afternoon but what better time for day drinking than the summer time?

The only place I don’t wear my muumuus is the hiking trail. That’s a little too much activity down there without any barriers. In other words, thigh chafing, which my friends and I used to call “chub rub.” I can’t do that anymore because I said “chub rub” once in front of my boys and their heads almost exploded. Apparently “chub rub” does not mean the same thing to a teenage boy as it does to 45+ year old women. I would explain it to you but just suffice to say that we should not be using the term “chub rub.” So I’ll call it thigh chafing which is self-explanatory and more accurate because, despite popular belief, it is not about body size. Every running magazine or blog has lists of the best performing chafing creams and I don’t think runners even have thighs. Not real thighs, anyway. There are special lubricants to avoid thigh chafing during physical activity like hiking and running but I don’t like to combine my muumuus and lube. Talcum powder is fine but lube is really overdoing it. It’s a muumuu, not a party tent.

Other than strenuous exercise, muumuus are the go to outfit for the summer season. Just the other day I was lounging in my muumuu watching Wine Country on Netflix when the character played by Rachel Dratch exclaims “Put me in my finest muumuu!” so she can tackle the list of activities planned for the day despite her back injury. ‘Cause there’s no stopping a woman in her muumuu. Who cares if there’s no back up? Who cares if it’s been 8 months since I posted anything? It’s muumuu time. Let go and let’s go!

Active Shooter.

Posted on | November 9, 2018 | 7 Comments

Active shooter days are hard for me.  I know they’re hard for everybody.  I know that a lot of people take comfort in that saying from Mister Rogers:

Image result for mr rogers meme, look for the helpers

The problem is that I am one of the helpers.  And here’s the cold hard truth, America: the helpers aren’t going to make it in time.  Between 2000 and 2013 the FBI reported there were 160 active shooter situations, the majority of which ended quickly. “In 63 incidents where the duration of the incident could be ascertained, 44 (69.8%) of 63 incidents ended in 5 minutes or less, with 23 ending in 2 minutes or less.”

The 2016-17 report from the FBI didn’t include time data.  Maybe because it was too hard to ascertain.  Maybe because, in addition to the increasing frequency of shootings, the limited amount of time for public safety to respond was too grim to face.  The time for a police response to any 911 call varies a lot depending on which study you’re reading and where you live but it hovers around 7-12 minutes.  The time to get an ambulance on scene is generally the same or longer.  Which means the shooting is over long before help arrives; all that’s left is the dying.

Of course, having law enforcement arrive quickly (or paid security on scene, for that matter) isn’t a guarantee of anything; they get shot and killed, too.  Dead cops can’t save anyone.  And when EMS arrives, they aren’t able to enter the scene until police know the shooter is down or has left.  Because dead medics can’t save anyone either.  In desperation, FEMA, the FBI, and Homeland Security are changing this element of response—now, police are urged to enter a shooting scene immediately, even if they’re alone.  When EMS arrives, they are now escorted into active scenes by law enforcement.  I’m not sure how many citizens can be saved if EMS ends up treating the cops who are shot escorting them into the building.  But, really, EMS’ ability to save anyone at an active shooter scene is limited.

EMS is trained to apply bleeding control, tourniquets, chests seals, and decompress a possible pneumothorax before moving on with police to the next area in search of more victims.  That’s right—there won’t be any immediate extrication from the scene until law enforcement and EMS has cleared the building or area.  You get a tourniquet and then we leave you where you are.  I feel sick imagining how this will play out in real life.  What do I do when a bloody citizen is clinging to my leg, begging me not to leave them?  I asked this question in a training session and the federal law enforcement personnel teaching the course told me to kick them down if I needed to, but we keep moving.  That’s the reality of rescue in an active shooter scene.  How do you like that, Mister Rogers?

Of course, bleeding control measures are life-saving but if you have massive internal bleeding or head trauma or an acute lung injury, then what you really need is a rapid transport to a hospital and a surgeon.  There’s nothing else that will save you.  And according to the surgeons that treat gun shot wounds everyday, even a surgeon isn’t a guarantee.  That’s why shooting victims die in such large numbers.

Maybe you’re thinking that concern about these desperate measures is really just cowardice.  That cops and EMS signed up to give up their lives for citizens in need and if they don’t like it, then they should quit.  But in my small town, the majority of public safety personnel don’t just work here, they live here, too.  I have 4 children in 4 different area schools.  My co-workers have kids in schools all over the district; we all have family members working in community businesses, attending local churches, filling the stands at sporting events, dancing in the park during concerts. Every single one of us would rush in, would do anything, would give it all up if we knew we could stop the killing of our friends and families and loved ones.  But our bodies, our lives, won’t stop the shootings from happening again and again and again.

Active shooter days are hard because I have to remind my kids that when the shooting starts, they need to move.  They need to move and keep moving, even if they or their friends are injured.  Their only chance of survival to is to move away from the gunfire and if they are injured their best chance for quick medical treatment is if they are off the active scene.  I’m not going to be able to help them.  I am not going to make it there in time.

A couple years ago, I was at work when we were notified that there was credible evidence of an active shooter threat at a local high school.  Two of my kids were in that high school that day.  I was working on the ambulance that is the responding unit for that high school.  All of the public safety agencies were in high gear—investigators tracking the threat, tactical teams getting in place, the school on lockdown.  EMS headquarters was preparing to load the ambulances with extra supplies for multiple patients.  Public safety was doing everything they could do to mitigate the danger.  And as I sat in the front seat of my ambulance, waiting to get a call for an active shooter at the school where my kids were locked into their classroom, I knew there was still nothing I could do.  They were on their own.  The helpers aren’t going to beat the bullets to the scene.  So active shooter days are hard for me.

I’m not comforted by the thought of arming more and more citizens.  Nothing about adding to the plethora of guns lets me sleep easy at night.  Because I believe the research from the CDC—-at the least the research that the government allows researchers to do.

I’m not comforted by the new policies of throwing first responders at shooters in the hopes that a human sacrifice can stop the shooting spree.  Bodies do not seem to be a reasonable alternative to effective gun control legislation.

I can’t comfort myself by telling myself that these occurrences are rare.  Because they really aren’t anymore.  The afternoon of the shooting in Thousand Oaks, I received an automated email from my kids’ school saying they had a rumor of a gun on campus and were investigating it thoroughly.  After the Thousand Oaks shooting, it was discovered that some of those present at the Borderline Bar and Grill had been at the Las Vegas shooting last year, the deadliest mass shooting in US history.  This is what it’s come to in America—-you might survive one mass shooting, but you may not survive when you’re caught up in the next one.  The next one, Mister Rogers.

I’m really uncomfortable with a lobbyist group (the NRA, of course) telling the doctors that treat gun shot victims of all kinds that their opinions on gun control are unwelcome.  If anyone gets to have an opinion on gun violence, it’s the doctors left to treat the damage inflicted by the bullets.

So instead I spent the day doing what I usually do on active shooter days.  I wandered through my life putting things in order.  After I dropped kids at school I did my workout and ran my errands, picking up the items I needed to disguise leftovers into a new dinner.  I returned a shirt that had been patiently waiting in the backseat of the van for weeks to be returned.  I came home and paid bills and balanced the checkbook.  I hooked up the frost-free hose for the RV and weather-proofed the water spigot so I don’t lose water during the upcoming freeze.  I confirmed Big’s medical appointment and called the insurance company to dispute a charge for Little’s last doctor’s visit.  I took the crates that had been sitting on the deck for weeks and moved them to the barn.  I washed my sheets and towels and aligned my comforter so that each side that hung off the edge of the bed was perfectly even.  I refilled the birdfeeders and put out fresh suet.  I put on the cattens’ flea and tick medicine.  I went back to the school and dropped off Middle’s lunch because he forgot it.  And I just moved along checking off each little item because focusing on the things I can get done takes my mind off the things I can’t control.  Apparently I am not the only person that this works for—accomplishing mico-goals releases dopamine in the brain.  So that by the end of the day I can pick up my kids from practice, drive them to work, kiss them goodnight, then head in to class to teach a new generation of EMS providers, without picturing my loved ones bleeding out in a street or hallway waiting for help.  It keeps me sane, but it doesn’t keep them safe.

What would Mr. Rogers say to this advancing threat?  I guess we won’t ever know because Mister Rogers died in 2003.  Fifteen years before a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in his Pittsburgh neighborhood.  An active shooter in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood.  I’m glad he died before that happened.  Rest in peace, Mister Rogers.  It’s a peace increasingly hard to find for the rest of us.




Posted on | November 4, 2018 | 3 Comments

This is National Novel Writing Month which means I pledged to write every single day this month.  It also means I am doing everything except rewriting the 198 pages of the novel.  Not editing, rewriting.  Because I decided it was way too descriptive and I also wanted to change it up to start each chapter with an action scene.  It’s okay, I can face making the change.  I just need to do everything else in the world before facing it.  Since I can practically spit clean (that’ s a real thing, by the way, and science backs it up) my house in all of 15 minutes I had to venture out into the garden.  The fall garden needed a lot of fall cleaning.  A lot.

I decided I would move forward with my plan to shorten the rows to leave an open area for a bonfire pit as well as large spaces for herbs.  Now that my kids are so busy they only eat at home about 3 times a week I don’t need as many veggies.  But I do need a bigger bonfire pit suitable for whisky drinking and s’mores (surprisingly good together).  Also I need to move the current bonfire pit away from the front engine of the RV–although using the headlights for light is convenient, it kind of makes my guests nervous.  I’ve assured them the gasoline tank is a solid 24 feet away from the engine but people are such nervous nellies about fire and gasoline.  Plus I should certainly start experimenting with a wider variety of herbs.  Homemade herbal tea goes well with living alone, having cats, and spending as much time reading in bed as possible. Also herbal infused or mulled whisky drinks are all the rage and seem so much classier than just sipping it out of the bottle between bites of s’mores. Read more

A Day In San Francisco.

Posted on | October 11, 2018 | 1 Comment

We beat the traffic in San Francisco and parked at Union Square. Even the homeless people were still asleep and none of the shops on the square were open.   So we made our way to Mr Holme’s Bakehouse and by the time we had navigated our first San Francisco “hills,” we were ready for specialty croissants and donuts.  Plus a pic with the famous sign.  I don’t think Little gets it, do you?

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It Will Be Cold Again.

Posted on | October 8, 2018 | No Comments

Life was always happening in the garden and the barn.  The summer heat, the winter wind, the spiders and their webs, the birds and their nests in every nook and cranny.  While everyone else was moving from their temperature controlled house to their temperature controlled car to their temperature controlled office, I was slogging through spring mud or breaking the ice layer in water buckets or dripping sweat onto the tomato plants as I pruned them.  I knew the minute slug season arrived, and tick season, and when the field mice abandoned the field for the greenhouse.

Of course, I always retreated to my air conditioned house.  And we all know about my love affair with the woodstove.  Despite all my outdoor activities, I woke up in the mornings like everyone else–surprised when I peered out the window and discovered it had rained during the night, shocked when I opened the deck door to get the dog her breakfast and found a cold front had moved in and temperatures had dropped.  I took shelter in a brick house that, as all good little piggies know, withstood weather and wildlife very easily.

Enter the RV.

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Big Lessons.

Posted on | October 4, 2018 | 5 Comments

The problem with parenting is that you never really know anything until you’ve lived through it.  Sure, you can read parenting books and you can ask other parents, but until you’re actually trying to convince a living, breathing 2 year to put his poop in the potty you don’t really know, well,…you don’t know sh*t.

That’s why raising the first child is less like parenting and more like a partnership.  A partnership in one of those random, crazy start up companies that you invested in because it seemed like a good idea, the guy was cute, and you had a little bit of money laying around.  What could go wrong?  And the next thing you know, you are sitting in a nursery that cost thousands of dollars in renovations, going on your 17th sleepless night, and it’s just you and your firstborn, weeping hysterically.  Both of you weeping hysterically.  No one’s in charge on those nights.  There is no parenting.

Oh, there were with sleepless nights with the rest of ’em.  But by then I had plans and tricks and strategies and coping mechanisms.  All of which I learned from Big when he was little.  That I learned with Big.  And that’s how it played out for the rest of his childhood–from the right preschool to the easiest road test examiner at the DMV.  I researched all the options, gathered reviews, and then thrust Big out there.  If it didn’t go well then he had an interesting story for his memoirs and his siblings had better odds at getting it right the next time around. Read more

Over the Mountains and Through the Woods.

Posted on | October 2, 2018 | 1 Comment

So there we were in Bakersfield, CA in the summer of 2017.  Bakersfield wasn’t originally part of our trip.  My original plan was to head north from Phoenix, hit the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, and then the Sequoias.  ‘Cause they’re all lined up neatly from east to west.  Too bad there’s no pass through the southern part of the Sierra Nevadas.  Which kept throwing me off in Google Maps.  How in 2017 was there no road through the mountains?  In 2017??  Honestly, I didn’t realize the Sierra Nevadas were much more than a beer, never mind something that can barely be crossed in the 21st century.

But travel is nothing if not a chance to see things that you weren’t planning on seeing.  So we cruised down Hwy 99 past all of the fruit packaging plants.  We saw the home of Halos and Cuties mandarin oranges as well as Dole packing plants and a Sunmaid Raisins facility with its own storefront.  Although I admit my favorite part was blooming shrubbery in the highway medians.  For mile after mile we flew past flowering pink and white oleanders.

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Cleaning house.

Posted on | September 29, 2018 | 3 Comments

So I’m gonna start at the ending and work my way back to the beginning.  Which is against the rules, I know.  But the rules are kind of fast and loose around here lately.  If you wondered where I was for almost the past year, I was cleaning house.  That seems like a lot of cleaning.  And it was.  Oh, it was.

I’m writing to you from my 32′ RV.  Where I stay now.  Overlooking the pond and garden on a raised gravel lane with my own power pole and water line and, of course, wifi.  I have 2 indoor/outdoor cattens (1/2 kitten and 1/2 cat. You missed their full-on kitten stage) from the animal shelter that hang out on the couch when I’m in here and underneath the rig when I’m not.  They are pleased to join me when I open the door and start passing out cat treats but just as quick to dump me if they see anything interesting going on outside.  They are, after all, cattens.  Capable of dispensing love and indifference in equal quantities.

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There You Are.

Posted on | November 6, 2017 | 4 Comments

I was writing about my summer vacation and I had to download some more photos.  It took a couple days because in order to “download some more photos” I had to track down Pretty (whose schedule is fuller than a rock star), get the pics off her camera and onto to a little card, shove the little card into the laptop a hundred different ways until the computer finally recognized that the card was there, then hunt through the computer files to find where it placed the photos off the little card (Pictures?  Downloads?  Imported?  The Third Dimension?).  When I finally sat down to write some posts about the rest of the vacation photos, I had nothing to say.

She was gone.

I have no idea where other people get their inspiration. Personally, I have a writer inside my head that notices everything.  She makes snarky comments about people’s behavior at the grocery store or oohs and aahhs over puppies at the park or snorts with laughter when overhearing the conversation of the preteens in the backseat of the car.  She almost always has something to say about everything.  And all I generally do is ponder over her comments, edit them for suitability of public viewing (It’s a lot of editing.  A lot.), and put them down on paper.  Even when I am writing a story and not a blog post, it’s usually just a matter of fleshing out an idea or series of thoughts that she tossed out into my mind.  Leaving me to connect the pieces or fill in the blanks.

But she was completely silent.   Nothing. Read more

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