11 July 2019

Back and Resting

I know, it should be 'back and ready' but I'm not quite there yet!  I've been back for a week but let me tell you, the first few days I could do little more than get out of bed and drink coffee.  I'm recovering, though, and will soon resume being my productive self.  Ugh.

So, mission accomplished down in Cali.  The room is restored to functionality.  The closet is usable, there is nothing under the bed, the four (yes, 4) dressers contain just a few needful things.  It's now possible to sit in the rocking chair - and rock, if so desired! 

There is still a bunch of stuff to be gone through, but that is the task of the adult children.  So, in other words, nothing will happen.  Stasis.  Still, it's a functional stasis, so there's that. 

I made some interesting discoveries while sorting through stuff.

First, I will say that I have known this family since childhood.  I've been friends with the daughter and son for nearly 50 years.  Friends with the mom, too.  The dad was usually away as he was a marine engineer and worked at sea.

So, when I cleaned out the back room I felt a keen regret for the life the mom wanted to have.  It seemed to me that she would have been happy being a ranch wife rather than a rancher.  She loved crafts.  She was an expert seamstress, she knitted, crocheted, made stuff out of wood, plastic, found materials, etc (I found more than one box full of pine cones, for example).  For a while she had a craft business - I found plenty of her old records of purchases and sales.  Of course, she made no money doing that.  But, I think she enjoyed it.

I formed that opinion based on the evidence in the back room.  When I got to the bedroom, I had other evidence to consider.

The woman threw nothing away.  Every letter, every card, every receipt, you name it, it was squirreled away in her bedroom.  Most of it was very pedestrian and ordinary.  I kept the letters the kids had written to her, and the letters the dad had written from sea.  I think the kids might like to look through those at some point, but maybe not.  That's up to them.

I found some other letters too.  I found a series of anonymous letters accusing the mom of breaking up someone's marriage.  It was a bit of a shocker!  It was virulent and threatening.  The letters were full of things like: We know where you were last night; we're watching you; you won't get away with this; etc.  I have to say that I didn't expect something like that but when I put it together with some other info, I had a more... nuanced understanding of the mom. 

I wasn't sure what to do with those letters.  The rancher and her mom already have a rather strained relationship and I certainly don't want to add to it.  But, I didn't think it was up to me to dispose of them.  So, I put them together and tucked them under some stuff in one of the dresser drawers.  It'll be quite a while before anyone looks in there and I can probably retrieve them unread if I change my mind.  It's all water under the bridge at this point and I'm not sure what it would serve to bring them to light.  I just don't know which way to go on that one.

Oh, how I wish my mom was alive!  I really wanted to ask her about their mom and what she knew back in the day.  I'm sure she could have provided some context.  Maybe I'll ask my mom's best friend.  Janet might know, but I don't think she spent any time with the woman back then.  Still, we grew up in a small town and everyone usually knows everyone else's business in a small town.

But, why?  What the hell difference does it make at this point?  None whatsoever.  Just curiosity, I guess.  It doesn't change the way I feel about the old gal, or change how I interact with her.  I guess I see her with more layers now, not just the surface that she presents to the world.  Although, given that she is in the depths of dementia, there is not even much of a surface layer any more. 

What do you think, wise women?  Should I consign the letters to the fire? 






22 June 2019

What's up, plus a little backstory

Hello Friends!

Let's see, it's June, just past the Summer Solstice.  Are you having long, beautiful summer evenings where you are?  Or, do you live in the Southern Hemisphere and have winter beating you down?  OR, are you in the upper to mid-Atlantic states and have unending rain combined with warm temperatures resulting in paralyzing humidity?  Or something else...

I keep looking at the weather in my hometown and it looks perfect.  Mid 70's, cloudy with showers... that's how I like it.  Unfortunately, I have to look in the newspaper as I am not currently in residence.  I am down in that hellhole known as California, specifically the Sacramento Valley.  Well, the Sierra foothills, if you want to be specific, but the effect is the same. 

It's overly warm here.

What am I doing here, you ask?  Well, I came down to help my friend, the Rancher.  Her mom is currently residing in an assisted living place and I volunteered to come and help get a grip on the house.  Her mom is a hoarder, or at the least, someone who never threw anything away.

Here's the backstory:
I came down here back in March (meant to blog about that trip but was so exhausted I never got around to it) in order to clear out the 'back room' of the house.  It's a room that had been added on to their tiny house long before they bought it.  It was poorly constructed but it was put to use as a storage room.  I know what you are thinking and you are absolutely right.  A hoarder with a back room is trouble in the making!  Well, that is the truth.  The back room was so packed with stuff that one literally could not set foot inside.  The mess came up to the doorway.

So, I set to work.  There were layers to the hoard and it was a little like archaeology.  On the top was the worst layer, the layer where people had recently just tossed stuff into the room from the doorway and walked away.  The perimeter and the deeper layers were well organized and packed for storage.  But, the Rancher's aunt had died recently and loads of her stuff was superimposed over the existing hoard.  I could see the difference between the recent stuff and the original stuff.

It didn't make much of a difference.  Old useless crap is old and useless no matter how long it  has been sitting in a back room.  I'm a good sorter and I divvied things up into useful groupings.  Trash, keep, donate, etc. I was lucky enough to find an outfit that did art outreach and accepted many boxes of art supplies.

All in all, I ended up moving a LITERAL ton of material out of the back room.  The Rancher has a dump trailer (cue heavenly music) and I filled it up.  When she took it to the dump, the weight was 2,144 pounds.  Reader, I carried every ounce of that ton!

It wasn't the most fun of visits and I worked my ass off, but it was very satisfying to clear out that room and send so much garbage to the dump.  It wasn't all trash and I worked very hard to redirect useful things to appropriate destinations.  But, seriously, the woman never threw away a jar.  Not just canning jars, but all jars were washed out and stored on shelves, in boxes, in bags, etc.  Every mayonnaise jar, peanut butter jar, pickle jar, everything.  All washed and put in the back room.   That wasn't the worst of it, just an example.

So, yeah, I came here and cleaned up a big mess, but it was only the first mess.  Now, I am back and cleaning out the mom's bedroom.  Here's how the room was: you opened the door and stepped in the room.  The bed was about 4 or 5 feet into the room, bedside table on the left, door to the closet on the right.  That was literally the only open floor space in the room.  In order to make the bed you had to lie on it, or roll over it and try to squeeze your feet into the piles of stuff on the far side of the bed.  It was impossible and a damned fire hazard.

I've been here since late Wednesday, so I've had three days so far to get a grip on it.  It is now possible to walk around to the far side of the bed!  I have sent a large bag of small clothes home with one of the ranch hands (he has a whole passel of kids to clothe), I have a big stack of boxes and bags to go to the donation place (Goodwill, or whomever), and I have been filling up the trailer again.  There won't be nearly as much stuff this time around, but I need to go through it carefully.  There is an unbelievable amount of paperwork.  For one thing, the woman never threw away a piece of paper.  There are receipts and notes and greeting cards dating back to the 1950's.  I'll have plenty of interesting things for the Rancher and her brother to sort through and make decisions about, but the big bulk of it is going out.  I've found so many brand new, tags-still-on, unworn articles of clothing!  I've got a stack to take to the Mom's new home (well, after I wash it all), and it includes shoes and slippers and shirts and pants and shorts, and, and, and...  But, the bigger stacks are things that are no longer of use here but might be worth someone else's while.  I mean, she'll never wear these 20 coats again but someone else might.  I've saved her out a couple that she can wear. 

My next step is to gather up the donation items and start taking loads to drop off.  That will be satisfying.  In the meantime, I'm plugging away at it, reducing the mess bit by bit, bag by bag, box by box.  It's slow going but I'm making progress.  My back is killing me, though. 

If this post is rambling and unintelligible, I apologize.  I'm tired and need to lie on the floor for a few minutes.  Do a few gentle stretches.  Relax and breathe non-dusty air...

I'll make another dent in it tomorrow.
Cheers!





19 May 2019

Update, slacker style

Hi Friends!

Here's the poop, in small bite size morsels... doesn't that sound appealing!  Ha!


  • T has a new potential girlfriend!  Woo hoo!!!  You know how it is when you have ended a relationship but you still feel a little bit responsible for the ex's happiness or well-being.  It's such a relief when they hook up with someone else!  She still calls me virtually every morning so I am fully up to date on how it's going.  TMI?  Yep.

  • I spent a week in Southern California with my two besties and, for part of the week, my daughter.  Love, love, love.  (I don't, however, love So Cal.  It is SO DIRTY!)  The weather was perfect, cool and cloudy almost all of the time.  We went to two botanical gardens and that was lovely, spent a day at the horse races where I came out ahead by $1.29 at the end of the day.  

  • Spring is going like gang-busters here in the PNW.  The early bloomers are done but my towering mock orange has just broken out in a spectacular display.  Heavenly!

  • My friend from New York is coming for a visit!!!  She hasn't been to the PNW before so I'll have lots to show her.  Super excited!  Again, perfect weather is in the forecast -- cool and cloudy with occasional rain.  That's what it's really like here, might as well get the true experience.

  • A friend from high school has moved to my city and wow, is he busy!  He invites me out to places I've never even heard of despite living here for over a quarter century.  I've gone out with him a few times.  We are getting together next month with another guy from our high school days and I'll admit to being curious about how the two of them interact.  They were both closeted gays back then (well, weren't we all?) and now they are most definitely not.  We'll be waving the rainbow flag together.  

That's all I've got this morning.  I could ramble on but I'll spare you that.  Plus, I've got to get back to whipping the house into shape.  Cheers, m'dears!


17 February 2019

Mid February

I know that writing about the weather is boring but it's so unpredictable these days...

We had a slow start to winter.  November, December and January were unseasonably warm and dry.  Then February blew in and it all reverted to normal.  Ok, not exactly normal, but definitely wetter.  We had some snow here in PDX, not a lot but enough to cause a ruckus.  Schools were closed, traffic was a nightmare, there were panicked runs on the grocery stores.  It was, in fact, the usual Portland panic at the sight of a snowflake.   There was a true weather emergency in the Columbia River Gorge though.  Heavy snowfall and multiple car/truck accidents shut the highway for something like 18 hours.  People were stranded in their cars overnight. 

My daughter got waaay more snow in the Puget Sound area.  She was hoping to get out on her cross country skis and by golly she did.  And then it showed some more.  And then some more.  They ended up with a couple feet easily.  Fortunately, she and her husband can work from home.  They got awfully bored but they were safe.

We've had incessant rain after our brief snowfall here in the City of Roses.  I was out walking this morning*, though, and saw several signs of spring.  Violets are flowering, as are snow drops.  Camellias are putting on a fabulous show and hellebores are luxurious.    Daffodils and tulips are pushing through the soil.  Yep, spring is coming!  For all of you in colder, more northern, and snowier climes, chin up!  Hopefully, you won't get another visit from the polar vortex.




*Not that I'm opposed to early morning walks in the rain, but I don't usually take those opportunities.  However, I am puppy sitting for a friend and the little terror needs lots of exercise.  What a good reminder to NEVER get a puppy!

Ok, he's being suspiciously quiet... I'd better go see what trouble he's getting into now.  Cheers!

08 January 2019

On the Tube

The television, that is...

Netflix has a new series from the Japanese wonder worker, Marie Kondo.  I had been avoiding it, as I did her book, because I don't have a problem with my clutter.  Would I prefer that it was less dusty?  Yes, of course, but I don't have room in my brain to stress about that.  Plus, I found the whole 'does it bring you joy' thing a little precious and gimmicky.

So, feeling skeptical, I decided to see what the big fuss was about.  There are a handful of episodes and I chose one with an empty nest couple.  I didn't start with the first one because it is a family with toddlers and, thankfully, that is not my life!

The couple, I think their last name is Akiyama, have a large house that was full to the brim.  My first thought was, 'Yay!  I'm not anywhere near that level of stuff!'  It made me feel a tiny bit smug.  T always complained that I was a hoarder and that is simply not true.  I've been in hoarder houses and mine is not one.  She just likes to be mean.  Plus, she comes from a family who actively support the disposable lifestyle and that is the diametric opposite of me and my family.  (We actually use our old things and prefer to not buy more.)

The process was interesting to watch.  The wife had a mountain of clothing.  A really astounding number of garments.  But, she was quite frank about her love of clothes and shopping and yes, most of the clothes brought her joy.  Still she did manage to reduce the sheet numbers and what she kept, while still a staggering amount in my eyes, was organized and accessible. 

The husband's big thing was baseball cards.  He had a stack of boxes that literally went to the ceiling.  I thought he would dig in his heels about paring it down, but he was willing to reduce it.  Good for him.  He pared it way down; the stack is nowhere near the ceiling now! 

Then there were the Christmas decorations.  Honestly, it was staggering how many things they had.  The wife liked to decorate every room in the house at the holiday and I support her right to do so.  But, seriously, that was a lot of nutcrackers!  I can't remember how many containers of decorations they kept but it still felt like a lot.  However, it was considerably less than they had started with, and everything was neatly put away rather than stacked up higgledy-piggledy through the house.

The best thing about the episode, to me, was the spirit of camaraderie that the husband and wife shared.  There was a sense of working together; they were on the same side.  It wasn't one spouse pushing the other to get rid of things that they love.  They looked like they were both invested in the process and they both benefited from it.  It was really sweet!  I have such a jaded view of marriage and partnership that it surprised me to see two people working in harmony.  I felt a little wistful that I will never have that, but it was somehow comforting to know that it exists in the world.

I realize, of course, that the show is highly edited and the tone is set by what the producers leave in and what they take out.  But, I didn't get the sense that the couple had underlying animosity over their collections of stuff.  I'm going to go ahead and hold that thought, because it 'brings me joy'... lol.

Next, I'm going to watch the episode with the book collectors.  If there is a trouble spot for me it is my personal library.  I grew up in a house chock full of books and I inherited a lot of them from my parents.  I'm a reader, for certain, and I love books.  I have been giving some away lately and need to accelerate that process.  The 'little free libraries' around me receive a lot of the books that I pass on, but I could do more.

The other really sticky spot for me is sentimental items.  I am not up for tackling that at this point in time.  That's where the real baggage comes in.

So, tell me, have you watched this series or read the book?  Are you someone who holds on to things?  Or do you live with someone like that?






22 December 2018

Happy Solstice and a Winter Update

Hello Friends!

Blessings to you and yours at the turn of the season.  Here's my tiny bonfire from yesterday afternoon.


We had a break in the rain for a few hours so I took advantage of it.  I used some wood scraps from inside the shed and a couple of chunks of mostly dry 2x4.  It wasn't truly a bonfire, more of a bonflicker.  Still, I participated in calling back the sun and that was satisfying.

Here's the project I've been working on in the evenings.  It's a braided denim rug.  When T moved out she left a LOT of her stuff behind.  That included about 30 pairs of jeans that either no longer fit or she simply didn't want anymore.  I told her that I was going to cut them up to make a rug* and that if she wanted any of them she should come over and get them.  She took about 3 pairs for herself and 3 or 4 for her brother.  I gave the neighbor 3 pairs that were simply too good to cut up.  Then I got started.


This was in late October.  Here's the progress I made through late November.  Of course, anything in the house belongs to the cat.  Pierre likes it so far.



At this point, I ran out of jeans.  I used all of T's that were usable and several of mine that were either too big or too small.  Then I went to the Bins.  Do you have this in your town?  Here, it's the last stop shop of the Goodwill.  Stuff that doesn't sell at other stores gets shipped to a warehouse and dumped into shallow, wheeled bins.  You can pick through to your heart's content.  Everything is sold by the pound.  (I think some things just get donated there because I saw plenty of good stuff that could have sold in the regular shops.)  I bought 12 - 15 more pairs of jeans for $1.29 a pound.  Here is my progress since then.


It's now far too big for the coffee table so I put a large cardboard box on the table and my fabric cutting board on top of that.  It's actually too big for that arrangement as well, so I have to fold it in half to work on it.  I think it will be done before Winter is over, lol.  I am a little worried though.  The last time I put it on the floor Pierre started sharpening his claws on it.  Damn cat!  I might have to put it in the guest room instead of the living room.

So, that's what I have been up to, how about you?  Staying busy?  Staying warm and dry?  I'm sending you all best wishes for a peaceful and healthy holiday and New Year. 

Cheers!

ps: I've left out all the shitty stuff because, ugh. 

*This is funny: when I told her I was going to make a rug she asked, 'For me?'  I laughed and replied, 'No, you have carpeting!  I have cold hardwood floors!  It's for me.'


29 October 2018

What the Hell with Everything?

The world has gone off the rails.  This country especially, but really the contagion is spreading far and wide.  What a distressing time we are living through.

In my personal world, there has been one bad thing after another.  Some things are small, such as my favorite fabric store closing, and some things are profound - the death of a 14 year old friend from MRSA.  These overlie the national and international news that becomes more bleak by the day.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and she said, 'I got to watch the news for 8 years while Obama was in office but not anymore.'  Yes, it's true, some of us can't stomach the nightly toll of hate and insanity.

What's a Pollyanna to do?  I just can't put a positive spin on any of it. 


31 July 2018

July 2018


Well, well.  I have now been retired for one year.  Ok, it was a year yesterday but today is still early.  How's it been going, you ask?  Let me tell you...

Home front: mostly good!  I made a giant list a year ago and I have diligently chipped away at it.  It is about 3/4 completed.  Of course, some of the list items can never be crossed off, like weeding the yard.  And, some have now come round again, like powerwashing the deck.  But, I knocked some big tasks off that I don't have to do again and that is satisfying.
  • The stairs - pulled up the ancient and disgusting carpet, sanded and painted, added a handrail
  • The plastic greenhouse - dismantled and recycled
  • The catio - dismantled and repurposed or recycled most of the materials
  • Painted the eaves of the sun porch
There are more projects.  Some are partially complete so they don't get to be crossed off yet.  But, I'm making progress on lots of things and that feels really good!

One of my projects that will be ongoing for quite some time is the basement clean up.  I have stuck to my plan of getting a minimum of one box dealt with every two weeks.  The two week time frame is the trash pick up schedule.  Every time the trash is collected there has been stuff from the basement in it.  Every time!  Progress is slow but steady and I can see the difference.  Sometimes there were multiple boxes or bags dealt with, one day I got rid of five boxes!  Still loads of crap to go through, but it's happening.

Friend front: mostly good!  I have remained friends with T, and I'm glad about that.  I got to meet two of my blog friends, super good!  I have seen my two besties a couple of times during this year and that has been great.  I'm going down to So Cal in a week to spend some quality time with one of them.  The rancher continues to be a concern.  Not as a friend, of course, but as an obligation.  Her situation isn't good and there's only so much I can do for her.  I can't fix her life, that's up to her.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.  

In case you were wondering, I found a new (better) housesitter.  She's a friend from my martial art training days.  She has stayed twice and not adopted a puppy either time!  Big points there!  Lol.  Pierre has been well cared for and the garden has been watered so... yes, Sara is the one.

Other, less tangible things from this year of retirement: my stress level is way down.  I didn't have a particularly stressful job, but just getting there, being there, doing the work, having deadlines, being away from home all day... these things take their toll.  Now, there are times when I check my phone to be certain which day of the week it is.  That's a huge improvement in quality of life!  

Another thing is the increased ability to say Yes or No.  To requests, to people, to situations, to suggestions.  Saying Yes because I have time, and saying No because I don’t want to.  I like it.

****
Well, that was written on July 1 and not posted.  Today is July 31 and by golly it will be posted!

Since then, I have been to Long Beach (CA) for a week and a half.  Did some projects with/for Lisa.  We had a good time, as we always do when we get together.  On the final couple of days of my trip, our other buddy, KA, joined us.  It was a somewhat impromptu get together.  She was in SoCal for a family birthday and came to Lisa’s afterward, and spent the night.  We had a lovely grilled salmon and sat up talking until late.  Very enjoyable.

Tomorrow I am giving a presentation in a self defense class.  I haven’t taught the class all summer as I have been out of town so much.  I’m trying to ease out of that work because it is so draining.  It’s important work.  I want the youngsters to step up and teach more of it though.  Of the frequent teachers over half of us are retirement age. 

Also tomorrow my best neighbors are going to NYC to visit their son.  That means that I get to have their dog for a few days.  Yay!  I love Angus, he’s a great little dog.  I also have chicken duty and garden watering to take care of.  Those fresh eggs are delicious. 

Speaking of delicious, a couple of days ago I put a pair of fried eggs on top of a pair of tamales.  Wow!  Why have I never done that before?!?  If you are a tamale fan, give it a try.  It was good! 

Ok, I’d better wind this up.  I have stuff to do and I don’t want to get distracted for another month. 

Thanks for reading, friends!


12 June 2018

June So Soon


12 June 2018


The arborists are here.  They are doing a fine pruning on the Japanese Maple, and a pruning and height/girth reduction on the Rhododendron.  They seem like careful, attentive tree huggers, so that’s all to the good.  I’m trusting them with my plant family!

I am sitting in the dining room which has a wall of windows looking right into the rhodie, and surveys all of the front yard.  They are in the tree!  They are in the giant, strong shrub!  Light weight young men, all three.  I do hope they are careful.

Well, since it’s been a while, how about if I catch you up on the doings over here?

Chicago trip: check.  I had a darned good time!  Awesomeness Factor of 15/10 for meeting friends.  Comfort Index of staying in a hostel next to the El 5/10 (and that’s generous!)  The trip did not turn out at all as was advertised.  We were going to be planting shore grasses along Lake Michigan and we ended up planting native trees and shrubs in a reclaimed woodland.  Close enough.  Because of the change of plans we had more time to see downtown Chicago.  It is a dynamic city! 

The real reason I went was to meet my friend 8.  And my other friend, MG.  They were so much more amazing in real life!  These are the people about whom you would say, I wish they were my neighbors!  I am happy that I was able to meet two awesome women and can call them friends.  People, if you know them online, I can attest that they are as they present themselves.  (But they are much more than that, too.)  This is when the internet is a positive thing.  Thank you, Internet Kismet, for finding me some kickass women friends!

I flew home from Chicago on a beautiful blue sky day.  We flew over the forests and mountains and rivers of my country.  The mighty Columbia, Mt Hood gleaming in the sun, the chain of snow-capped volcanoes marching north – St Helens, Adams, all the way to Mt Rainier outside Seattle.  I saw sad brown swaths of burned timberland lining the south side of the Gorge.  The Eagle Creek fire did so much damage, and so much of it is visible to a large population.  We had a much, much bigger and more devastating fire in southern Oregon last summer but it was in a more remote area, affecting far fewer people.   We of the short attention spans will forget the bigger one.

I had my daughter down for a weekend visit after I returned from Chicago.  She’s got a houseful right now and has enjoyed getting away.  Her two in-laws will be moving out this summer, maybe this month.  She’ll be ecstatic!

I played a 9-hole round of golf with T a couple weeks ago.  My second time golfing ever.  It was a pleasant morning walking around and swinging a stick at a ball.  Fortunately we don’t keep score or even care, often hitting 4 or 5 balls from the tee until we get one we like.  It’s supposed to be fun, right?

Most recently, I traveled down to California.  I flew to the Bay Area to meet up with my friend KA.  I was delivering a quilt to her second granddaughter.  We had a great time with the kids and the parents.  Played for a little bit, went out to dinner (very early!), and then left the little family and went to KA’s and drank some wine.  Lol.  We left the next morning for the ranch.

I had been talking to KA some weeks ago about getting back to the ranch and trying to get some projects back on track.  I asked her if she would consider coming with me and helping with the paperwork nightmare in the dining room.  KA is a paperwork professional, being a tax preparer.  She actually likes that kind of thing.  She readily agreed, I’m happy to say.  My friends are awesome people!

So, she and I drove out there Thursday.  Arrived in the late afternoon, just in time for chores.  Ha!  The rancher’s mom is in the throes of dementia, remember, but she fell in love with KA.  Not surprising, really.  KA is great with old people.  Well, with all people, really.  She took care of both of her parents through their long declines. 

KA stayed for 3 days and got a lot of sorting done.  She plans to return in another week to do more. 

I stayed for another week plus.  Lots of chores, but also some progress on some of the bigger projects.  We emptied out a rented storage locker and brought the junk back to the ranch.  The next time I’m there I will be sorting into donate, trash and keep.  And then going to the dump.  I hope to make several dump runs next time.  I think I have gotten the electrical repair at the barn project back in motion.  At least it is a couple steps forward. 

Went to a doctor’s appointment with my friend.  She’s now scheduled for an MRI this month, so that project is moving forward as well.

The rancher has also made some progress at reducing the size of the flock.  She sent a dozen of the oldest ewes and the oldest ram to market while I was there, and 20 lambs to market the day after I left.  There are still hundreds, don’t get me wrong, but it’s going in the right direction.  She also met a gal who might be interested in buying 20 or so of her Tunis sheep.  She is trying to diversify her flock.  Good!  Take these!  They’re good sheep!  (Actually, the Tunis are the best looking, imo, they have reddish brown heads and legs with white fleece.  The gingers, lol.)

Meanwhile, back at my house, everything is fine.  Pierre is alive, the house is undamaged; well done, Sara.  I need to get back to the yardwork, for sure.  I did a massive amount of weeding before I left but…  yeah, back at it.  I’m not sure if I’ll get anything vegetable-like in the garden or not this year.  I wouldn’t mind a sprawling butternut squash.  It’s late, but it should be ok.

I picked, washed, chopped and froze two large bags of rhubarb from the garden before I left.  Waiting for the blueberries to ripen and then bring on the Blubarb Jam!  I need to get back to the Farmer’s Markets to see where we are with the stone fruits.  Too early yet for apricots or peaches, berries are in season right now.

I think that’s the catch up.  I am so glad to be home.  I’m so appreciative of the quiet of my small household.  And the relative quiet of my urban neighborhood.  I need some time to decompress and reorient myself to my life.  I have been putting my own stuff on the backburner and I need to get my focus back.  There are still stories to be edited, stories to be finished, and many more stories to be written. 

Have a lovely day, friends, and thanks for reading along. 

02 May 2018

Spring all over

Hello Women!  And anyone else reading along...

Wow, I am so bad at blogging!  It's a wonder I continue at all.  But, here I am, throwing out another message in a bottle.  I've got to keep being me, I guess.

Here's a fun thing: I'm going to Chicago to meet some friends, other women that I have met through reading their blogs.  Fun!  I'm really excited about it and looking forward to some new experiences.  I haven't been to Chicago before, I've only changed planes at O'Hare and that doesn't count. 

I'll offer a quick summary of the goings on around here.


  • Rancher friend came for a visit.  We did a lot of shopping for ranch-related needs -- gear, mostly, and a lot of boots for various people.  I need to remind her to keep her receipts for taxes.
  • The former partner had a bit of an episode with me.  I felt uneasy enough to have the locks changed.  
  • T, the former partner, in an amazing turnaround, has subsequently gotten well over me.  She is on a couple of those singles web sites and actually enjoying herself.  She's not dating yet.  She is pretty firm on just finding a new group of friends.  It seems to be working!  
  • I've had my two best pals and my daughter here for a 'gals birthday'.  Three of us have birthdays within a week of each other so April is a frequent visiting month.  This time it was my turn to host.
  • I'm pretty certain that my friend, Sara, will be a good house/catsitter.  Fingers crossed.

So, that's the quick and dirty rundown.  One friend is still here.  We're getting ready to head over to Costco so I need to get my socks and shoes on.  

Cheers, friends!