Sunday, February 22, 2009

Free Falling

U is for UNPREPARED for losing Maggie
The bus ran off the road on Friday, it started off like any other day. Had I known it would end like it did I would have not spent so much time working on the computer and would have skipped my volunteer shift on Thursday. I would have made more time to stroke her head and tell her what an incredible companion she has been since the day I brought her home from the pound. She was always so funny, smart, so undemanding, loyal and devoted but independent, so if I was busy working she was totally content. We had our rhythm, which after living ten years 24/7 together is no surprise.
She had been having some difficulties, and was hardly eating, and drinking more water than normal so I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for 3.
She had been to the vet in December but saw a new vet who said the lump in her side Dave felt was just a full bladder, took no x-rays or showed any concern despite our worries that she was kind of lethargic. But she had lost BuBu 5 months previously, and we all were still recovering that loss.
Friday was different, our regular vet felt her swollen belly, immediately took an x-ray and she was in surgery 15 minutes later. She said she probably wouldn't have made it through the weekend. I prayed for a miracle but when the vet came out, I only had to look at the expression of pain on her face to know I had lost her. It was cancer and it had spread to her liver.
I still feel heartbroken I had less than five minutes to say goodbye, I was so not prepared. In my worst nightmare, never would I have thought I would be taking her to the vet that day and not bringing her home.
Now there is a giant hole in my life and heart and I am still falling into it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Folky snake

S is for SNAKE
This picture was taken at the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. They have a fantastic museum of folk art collectibles, displays of wonderful guitar memorabilia and the guitars used by various artists from Johnny Cash to Crosby Stills and Nash. Theres also a fabulous walking tour that is so worth the time and you can see the way Martin guitars are constructed - everything from the way they are polished to the embellishments cut into the fronts around the hole. Its hard not to drop a few bucks in the gift shop on t-shirts, hats and assorted doo da. It looks to be a great place to work, and I recommend the tour if you are in that neck of the woods or are within driving distance. A big thanks to my Brother Mark, who drove me out there one day while I was back East two years ago for the one and only time in years. I have a lot more pictures I will link as a slide show sometime in the future.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reflection and such

It was a great weekend, Friday night Dave and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire, everydarnbit as good as I have read. Saturday, we headed out to a swap meet and eventually landed in Medford and Costco for the usual supplies and a hike along the river. Maggie and Pepper seem to be getting along extremely well, and both picked up a few ticks.
There were encouraging glimpses of blue sky, sunshine and warmth and the days are getting longer.
Pretty soon we will be floating down the river, reflecting on the fact that we survived another winter.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ground Control to Major Tom

Lately I have been reminiscing about the good ole' days. Theres been a flurry of photos from the 70's popping up on Facebook, reminding me of the days when my overhead didn't exceed my income, I didn't look like my Mother, and everything seemed so much simpler. I used to roll my eyes at my Mom saying to me 'when you have your health you have everything'.
Now I get it. I get a lot of things I didn't get back then. I appreciate the older and wiser part of my life and try to keep my focus there. I've never been much into Classic Rock and Roll, but I have to admit, footage of Buddy Holly surrounding the 50th anniversary of his death last week, and the Doobie Brothers concerts at the Britt over the past few years that have rearranged my thinking in that department too.
My Mom has dementia, thankfully my Brother has been taking care of her over the past few years, allowing her to remain at home. Recently I found, and was moved to read a 2 page letter she wrote me in college, when her brain was firing on all cylinders (and mine wasn't). These days, like our former President, she can barely string a sentence together.
That letter made me nostalgic and even more appreciative of that cliche that would make me turn away and roll my eyes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mama Mia...

M is for MADONNA
Mid afternoon at the hospital, someone mentioned it was a full moon these days, which I immediately thought....that explains everything.
It was busy beyond belief, scheduled surgeries and add-ons plus it was short staffed in the back forty. Usually the afternoon shift I work at 3Rivers is slow compared the morning one but that was not the case today.
Compounded by the fact that I had a full day before I even checked in at 11 am, up at the crack of dawn trying to make changes to the Media Kit and website I'm working on, and a morning appointment in town. These past few days I'm scrambling to keep all my plates spinning.
Todays photo challenge submission was a nite light I picked up at the Humane Society thriftshop last summer for a mere 2 dollars, it lights up too. One of these days it will make it on to ebay, but in the meantime it collects dust and provides a token measure of comfort just looking at its beautiful face and delicate hands. These days with a full moon rising maybe I should plug her in and let her light shine bright.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making Lemonade

L is for LEMONS
Todays submission to the Alphabet Photo challenge was altered with yet another Photoshop filter, Paint Daubs. Kinda fun exploring the filters, this one makes it look almost like it was painted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Frontiers

K is for KNOT
Daves' organic garlic is a staple in our cooking, he has been growing the most amazing crops for years. Every fall replanting the best cloves and normally harvesting around two hundred beautiful bombers in July. Its the real deal, and we have been perfecting a fantastic dressing with a combination of the roasted and raw garlic plus a few other ingredients. It goes on everything from salad to salmon. Yesterday he dropped off a still knotted six pack of the 'purple italian' to make another round of dressing.
This afternoon I shot the picture and it looked wildly boring, not a lot of time in my day to play, or hunt and seek new subject matter, I decided to explore some Photoshop filters (this filter is Poster edges) and got I lucky, it really pulled the knot out so it was more readable, and I learned something new.
Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bottoms UP

J is for JAVA
My daily coffee production was altered a few years ago by a visit from my friend Michael.
Landing from the Bay Area (where theres a Starbucks on every corner) to install some doors in my kitchen, he blew my doors off whipping up some milk to top a cup a java.
There was a period of time in the 80's when Sandra from Switzerland was here, ah... in San Francisco, she had this milk steamer device and introduced us to the frothy milk factor. However the unit to do the deed with was dangerous and unpredictable, especially if one left the room.
Michaels technique was simpler, involved a small pan and a wisk, and we can't drink our coffee any other way since. The mere fact that you heat the milk makes it sweeter, and wisking it by hand for a minute or two takes it to a whole nuther level.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Senior Moments

On Saturday Dave and I headed over to the Grange to see if I could get our local chapter of the Old Time Fiddlers who were playing there, to commit to playing the Senior Fair in June. We stayed for a few tunes, where I shot these photos for the Alphabet Challenges' letter I. Outside it was 64 glorious degrees, it was a tough decision to remain inside watching them play music, rip up the dance floor and socialize. We then headed over to the local swap meet, scoring a few treasures and afterwards, the Mini Pet Mart to get the dogs nailed trimmed.
This morning we headed out for a hike and drove out to Waters Creek, outside of Selma. We wound our way about 5 miles up the mountain, where we were overlooking the fog. It was absolutely breathtaking, a reminder of the reason I remain despite the winter weather that continually challenges me.


"The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods"

H is for HENS
Chickens were one of the most fun and fascinating aspects of my move from city life to country living, I loved watching them, primarily in the hope I could glimpse an egg exit their fluffy bottoms.
My hens, it seemed rejected their nesting boxes and instead dropped eggs randomly...later I would find it was because there had been a rather large snake raiding the nests.
Totally fascinated by their routines, I would spy on them through a tiny section missing from the door to the roosting area. At dusk, they would retire to the tree branch that Keith nailed up in the enclosure, always lining up in the same order.
I decorated the walls in there with magazine photographs I found of poultry, hoping to make them feel at home. One day after a prolonged period of watching I was delighted to actually see it happen, one of the hens let an egg drop, and to my amazement, I could see it was soft as it came out.
The problem was the roosters, at first there was only one, but when I got a few more chicks from a neighbor up the road, hoping to increase the size of the herd and egg production, one of them developed into another rooster. And suddenly the heat was on, the girls had no rest, and the boys weren't just crowing at dawn, they were crowing all night long. Once they began fighting, I was told one of them had to go, or one of them would kill the other. Bad tempered, they went after my legs anytime they could and I became highly fearful not to mention increasingly irritated by the all night crow show.
One evening, I noticed in the local paper an ad for a free rooster, and so I called the number. I too have a free rooster, if you get more than one call please give them my address, his bags are packed.
It was just around dusk when a beat up pick up pulled into my driveway, and a petite older woman emerged with one leg in a brace. She limped confidently up my driveway and after peering through the peep show hole, I watched her fearlessly fling open the door, and in the blink of an eye she snatched it off the roost by its legs. It dropped upside down instantly sedate in her hand. She limped back down the driveway, effortlessly dropped that crazy rooster into a cage in the back of her truck, drove off and that was the end of my sleepless nights.

Friday, February 6, 2009


G is for GOAT
Heres Joans' remaining goat, gentle Ben, he is so sweet, loves his head rubbed, and loves dog cookies. When I go into the fenced area to drop my food scraps I've brought over for the chickens, he'll come right up next to me and I'll feel this warm breath blowing in my ear. Like hes trying to tell me something....cooookieeees.........
He's incredibly socialized, as are all her animals- Joan does this bonding thing when they are born, I have to ask her, theres a name for it I can't remember.
Everyone is like family, all her creatures, great and small.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The daily flog

Been busy revising and uploading website changes and working on some display ads for my new client. Had a meeting this afternoon in Kerby regarding some signage for the Guild. The new gallery and addition is wonderful and I'm looking forward to creating some big banners with the logo materials I did a year or so ago. Meanwhile todays pic was tough, I walked around in the drizzle looking for something and settled on a couple feathers Dave put on a board, and called it good, not a lot of time to play today.
I stopped at Joans on the way back from my meeting in Kerby to take some pics of Ben, mr goat (for tomorrow) and pick up some eggs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Keeping it Simple

E is for EGG
One of the staples of my diet, I decided on the egg as my subject matter for today. That part was simple, yes indeed. Chose a location, ....every surface in my house is a stage of garage sale items and found objects arranged in an every changing rotation of hodge podge interior desecration. Martha with a disorder that has yet to be identified, but involves kitschy steroids.

In the past six months it seems like these little plastic toy soldiers have been turning up everywhere, maybe they have always been part of the landscape unnoticed, but not until last summer on a camping trip to the Chetco, did I begin to start picking them up and utilizing them randomly and erratically.

I walked around the house picking up a few other items of eclectic and unrelated interest till I sensed I was going too far. I was relieved and gratified that I had not resold those cool Pottery Barn plates I picked up for a song at a garage sale this past summer for two bucks, each one of the four has a beautiful illustration from a vintage french poster.

The egg shells from breakfast still on the counter inspired me to head outside and grab the bird nest I considered using for B day and then set up the shot that made me think, ah now I'm really going tooo far.... especially when I saw all the little spiders frantically exiting it.
I try to remember to keep it simple, but instead I'm normally a runaway train and here's eggactly what I'm talking about.
Click here for the one I decided to submit for Charlie Bears Alphabet Photo Challenge, as well as the other submissions!
Thanks for taking the time to read, and comment!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Diggin it!

D is for DOG
Oh so much fun checking out all the photos being submitted for the Alphabet Photo Challenge from across the country and across the pond. While the midwest shivers, and my Brother in the Northeast- along with the UK shovels snow, we are getting some warmer temps and I'm able to sit outside and soak up some sunshine these days.
Todays' photo was taken at Daves, I gave him this little dog a few years ago for Christmas, it reminded me of Bullet. I didn't do much other than point and shoot, it was sitting there backed by a couple of white plastic ukeleles as I was poking around looking for some 'D' material. I love the background picture in the left corner of Daves kids, Brian is out of college two years now, and Daniel, the baby in the picture, is a senior in high school and a talented guitarist and artist.
I submitted the alternate without it, because I thought the composition was better.
Work to do so I'll stop rambling...

Monday, February 2, 2009

See the U.S.A. in your...

There ARE those commercial advertising jingles buried in my brain that take me right back to being a kid growing up in the 50's. The most brilliant one that comes to mind is the Chevy one, with a close second being the Oscar Meyer wiener one. This road warrior was probably not the model that most people imagined themselves flying down the freeway in, hair blowing in the breeze.
...around these parts, there are quite a few of these dinosaurs still going strong and adding visual interest and beauty where the rubber meets the road.
Todays photo submission for the Alphabet Photo challenge was taken on "G" street, here in beautiful downtown Grants Pass.


I know that each and every day is a leap of faith in one way or another.
And for instance, that it IS a personal choice to believe that Punxsutawney Phil could be wrong and we will get an early spring... my tooth implosion will improve, and I will be able to eat solid food soon... that the sun will come out today and the days ARE getting longer. I have to believe that my new client I'm working for will come through with the financial compensation he promises from the income generated by the marketing materials I am working on. I have to believe that as I am challenged, I can deliver and not in anything other than to the best of my abilities kind of way.
Lately my trust has been challenged by clients who have taken advantage of my creative talent. Promising me raises that haven't been followed through on, and when questioned, canceled my contract, and presently a job offered that hasn't happened because the previous designer changed her mind about leaving... when challenged by finding a better position.
I try to find the silver lining in every situation presented to me, to look back on the previous week and see what I have accomplished and learned. What have I done that has contributed to my dream, my goal, my big picture.
In the face of being challenged creatively, financially and attitude wise, have I been kind and walked my path with the solid belief that things will improve, and I am being taken care of. That in spite of a string of heart breaks and poor choices, that my soft place to fall will be there to catch me for the long haul.
....and the bottom line, embracing the fact that faith is a constant and challenging workshop I have to believe in.
In January, my friend Lori forwarded me these "Words of Wisdom for the New Year" and I have been trying to work them into a blog post. Todays' seems appropriate...enjoy.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
Talk to God about what is going on in your life.
3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to ________ today. I am thankful for ___________'.
4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.
9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument - agree to disagree.
13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years will this matter?'
17. Forgive everyone for everything.
18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask.
20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!
22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for _________. Today I accomplished _________.
24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Skipping the Stupidbowl

B is for BROOM
Well theres actual sunshine out my window, so no chance I'm staying in to watch the sports event of the year. Got my days photo sent off to Charlie, and I'm outa here.
Made some serious progress this morning on some marketing materials I'm working on, and my tooth is feeling better than yesterday.
Life is good and getting better.