- New batch of chicks arriving early June, both from my setting hen and from Meyer Hatchery - woot! I threw caution to the wind this year since family drama had me ordering late. I chose the “LeAnn’s Adopt Me” Assortment and a “Rare Egg Layer” Assortment — I’m hoping that Rare Egg Layer refers to rare breeds of chickens and doesn’t mean that these hens rarely lay eggs, hmm. :)
The customer service at Meyer is fabulous, and the woman mentioned that there might be turkeys in the LeAnn’s lot, Wow!! I’d love that.
- Was supposed to go to Vietnam with a friend in an ever distant Feb, but the trip is ALREADY fully booked, so to soothe my disappointed nerves I put a deposit on an even more remote SA trip in an even more remote Sept…woot!
- Still hoping against hope to attend a friend’s wedding in Rome in August. Though time is running out, fast.
- My main client is being a DICK. He asked me to design 5 different logos for his client, then sent me a budget of ONE HOUR to complete the job. 12 minutes per logo. Seriously?!! I told him no as nicely as I could between clenched teeth. In the time it’s taken me to type this far I’d have had to have come up with a viable logo. See, not so easy…especially since one needs to be designed like a superman logo, another with a speeding bullet.
- I killed rattlesnake #5 yesterday. I relocated the first 4, but this time I was with all three dogs, and I didn’t want to risk them getting hurt. I used a rock & I must report, it is no mean feat killing an angry rattler as the cavemen would have.Kudos to them. Vet bills here run $4,800. for canine/feline treatment of a bite, more for a human. Can’t risk it.
- I want to work for Grand Circle Travel / Grand Circle Foundation / Overseas Adventure Travel. Great company from what I can tell. If any of you have connection there (they are based out of Boston) and can pull strings, I’d be indebted to you for Ev-ah! Seriously.
Time Changes Everything…
I have Vaca here for a few days while Kev’s off sailing to Mexico. After 11 years in the my canyon dog pack, she’s been living down in the Marina, with Kev, since last fall. While it’s lovely having her here again, the reality that she knows that she’s no longer my dog & this is no longer her home, breaks my heart a little.
I’m sick of the bullshit I get from my sister whenever I spend time with Dad. Nothing I do is “right” it always seems to fall short of her way, which is apparently the *only* acceptable way. She’s currently accusing me of undermining “her plan” — a plan that neither my Dad or I are aware of.
It’s incredibly scary.
It’s the kind of grit that gets under my skin and keeps wearing away at my heart. I hope she doesn’t realize how personal and painful her attacks are. I can’t fathom her — well anyone really — being that intentionally cruel. In truth, it makes me want to give up trying. I can’t though, I have to keep the focus on my Father. I love him and I will advocate for whatever’s best for him for the rest of his life.
It’s not easy.
We view and approach things completely differently. I believe that sharing information is the only way to go, especially since neither of us are local. She believes that only she should have all of the information so that she can determine what is important enough for me to know and just mete the important stuff out as she sees fit, which in truth, is not very often. This makes no sense, given that I’ve been actually been spending 4-5X more time with Dad than she does.
It would make such a difference if we could approach the whole situation with gratitude instead of judgement. And if she was interested in working with me as a team, rather than as adversaries. I won’t lie, aging is scary, it’s scary for my Dad and for both my sister and I, but I firmly believe that our fear for him, can’t be bigger than his life. It just can’t be, he has to be able to live his life as fully as he can. We disagree on that as well.
In truth, we are exceptionally lucky.
Our father is alive, is coherent, is mobile, is healthy enough to be actively engaged in life. He lives in a great house for growing old. If he lives frugally, he likely has the means to live out his life in the manner to which he’s become accustomed — without having to sell the house and move in with one of us.
I’m so very grateful for these things.
I’m also very grateful for the things that my sister handles for my Father. I’m not knocking the things she does. I just wish she’d accept and acknowledge that the things I do have merit and have value for Dad as well.
Checking in with a bulleted list
- I finally emailed the company that I want to work for. I’m not applying for a specific job with them, but I made an offer and explained why I’d be a good fit. Now I wait. Send good thoughts, please. please. please. I really want to move out from behind a computer and in a new direction. This company would allow me do that.
- The IRS sent me a certified letter earlier this week, which lead me to discover that I haven’t filed my 2011 taxes yet, let alone 2012. I thought the accountant and I had finished them last fall, but when Dad got sick and I was gone for a few months, apparently it all went out the window. I’m working to get this figured out. I was on hold with them for 45 minutes on Friday. Ugh. Never fall behind financially, cause this barely scraping by while massive debt loom ever larger behind you - sucks the Grand Canyon.
- I bought diatomaceous earth “flour” to powder the birds - it is a natural product, a desiccant made of microscopic sea creatures which kills insects. It’s a messy process to use and now the birds are pissed and we all look like a powdered donuts.
- Tomorrow I’m going to a stage production at UCI with my friend, Janet. Her granddaughter will apparently be having an orgasm on stage during the play. Now that won’t be awkward at all for Grandma, lol. Janet asked me today if I thought that the girl had to be taught to act out an orgasm or was working from experience? Ahem, she’s 20 years old, I sure as hell hope it’s from experience, and that she’s a pro by now. :)
- I went back to bootcamp this morning and man did I feel out of shape. I was berating myself for it when I got a call from a friend I saw up north. She just wanted to let me know how great I look having lost all that weight. Serendipity.
- I saw wishy washy guy when I was up north. I don’t know if I’m physically attracted to him, and it’s likely not even an issue as I doubt he’s attracted to me. I do love his kindness though. He was driving a newly separated friend to Texas the first weekend I was in town as he didn’t want her traveling alone…which is nice. But get this, part of his regular Saturday routine is to stop by the farmer’s market where he purchases a basket of strawberries for the elderly barkeep at the local watering hole. I filled in for him while he was out of town, and boy did she light up like a firecracker when I handed her the bag. :)
Gloria loves Ira
My mom was well into the heavy thickness of chemotherapy appointments, ongoing doctor’s visits and incremental tumor growth when she fell in love with Ira.
Sure, she had been married to my Dad for nearly 50 years, but Ira poured out his heart with an openness, that my Mother had likely never experienced with a man.
Out of the blue she started talking about Ira — ALL of the time — Ira this, Ira that. My Dad semi-jokingly took to calling him “Your Mom’s Boyfriend” Every time we spoke on the phone she regaled me with some Ira story.
I assumed that Ira was a friend of my parent’s, so I didn’t pay much attention. It was good for my Mom to have something good to focus on and she was certainly focused n this. So, I was surprised one day when she asked me if I knew him. Knew who? I asked. Ira, she said rolling her eyes, Ira, from the computer? From what computer? I asked.
Suddenly, it came to me.
When I first started doing web design, many years ago, I designed sites using a Mac, and then I’d have all of my PC friends do site checks for me. Over time, as they outgrew their old CPUs they would bring them to me in the hope that I could them in my web work. The problem was that I started getting a ton of them and after awhile, I had a line of machines in the garage. At this point, I intended to wipe them, as I had promised each of my friends, then donate them to a good cause.
I never got around to it.
My parents were leaving after a visit, Kevin was working in the garage and my Mom saw the line of computers. She asked what I planned to do with them. I shrugged, she excitedly mentioned that her church was taking old equipment, wiping the hard drive and shipping them to an orphanage they sponsored. Good enough for me. We moved their luggage into the back seat and fit as much equipment into the truck as we could. I made Mom promise, as I had, that the CPUs would be erased. She nodded, I closed the trunk lid relieved that they were out of my life, and never gave them another thought.
As it turned out, my Mom decided that one of the CPUs was better than her own, so she pulled it out of the group and replaced it with her own machine before she dropped them off at the church. The machine she kept was Ira’s machine.
Ira was my friend Ted’s father. He was a psychiatrist who’d died of cancer a few months before the CPU from his nearly new machine came to me. I’d met Ira a few times and spoke to him only once at length, on a long walk between venues.
While my mom was in a long=term marriage, Ira was long-time divorced and dating. They both had three kids close in age to my sisters and I. He was as Jewish as my Mom was Catholic; and apparently fearing no one would ever know he wrote his heart out.
My mom apparently went on a journey of discovery, she mined the computer looking for any information that she could find about Ira. She empathized about the troubles he had with his kids, She read his journal, poured over his poetry, followed the threads of his correspondence and peeked into files of photos of the semi-clad women that he dated. He was an active member of J-date, an online Jewish dating site. She got hooked.
I was always terrified that Ted would find out and be angry. That his Dad might have kept his psych client files on this machine — which would be a *huge* ethical breach. On the other hand, I’d never seen my Mother so excited about getting to know someone. Given her on-going medical drama, it was hard to see that as a bad thing.
I saw Ted this weekend for the first time in years, certainly the first time since my Mom died. During the course of conversation, I told him about the computer and my mom falling in love with his Dad. He was perplexed at first, then he laughed and assured me that the computer was his father’s personal machine not his work machine. That was a relief. After that he said something that I didn’t expect — I wish I’d known about this before, I would have loved to have had a conversation with your Mom about my Dad.
I too wish he’d had the opportunity. By the end, my mom was an authority on all things Ira. It would have been an interesting conversation. Instead we toasted to their meeting in the great beyond.
I’m glad I didn’t let the fear of his anger stop me from telling him.
WHEEEEEEE….my trip north just got better :)
So, I posted my standard pre-travel note on FB - whoever wants to get together when I’m in town ping me, blah, blah, blah. I always do this, and I’m ALWAYS surprised who responds. It’s rarely people I expect it will be, but because of that, I’ve had the chance to get to know people I never thought would have ANY interest in getting together with me. Shows what I know. Anyway, I love them stepping up!
Last night after the post, I’ll be damned, if wishy-washy guy (WWG) didn’t step up. We’re organizing a group get together at the local watering hole [since 1917] for the week after Christmas. The irony of the location is that as a kids we weren’t allowed to even look in the door — small town fear that we’d identify the local drunks. :) Hmm, how far we’ve come.
I don’t know what WWG’s story is as far as I’m concerned. I acknowledge that he may just be a nice guy being a nice guy, I can accept that. He may also have some interest in me, we’ll see about that over time, or, he may have some interest in my Dad…nah, not my Dad — that’s a stretch…right? He did call Dad a couple of weeks ago. They met up and he took Dad out for a drink. I have no idea what they discussed and probably don’t EVER want to know.
But again, how nice is he for doing that? Who does that? Especially these days?
Dad was thrilled of course, as was I. Dad is also certain that I have spies in town keeping tabs on him, otherwise how could I possibly know that he and WWG met-up? It’s never crossed Dad’s mind that WWG and I might communicate. lol I’m letting Dad think that there are spies — that will help keep him in line, right? :)
I’d really love the opportunity to get to know WWG better. At the very least, I’d welcome the opportunity to have someone to hang out with when I’m at my Dad’s house. The ball is in WWG’s court, so it’s up to him at this point. I’m okay letting it be whatever it is, but I’d be an idiot to not be hopeful. Seriously, how often does someone who is this kind drop into one’s life? I’d be an idiot to not recognize and celebrate what an unexpected gift he’s been.
Dad’s Christmas Tree
When I was in college, I got a call from my Dad asking when i was coming home for Christmas. He was all amped up to have me help him decorate the Christmas Tree — my Mom had refused to help. Since this had always been her, I was puzzled but I went along with him. Sure, I was game to help him out.
I arrived home and as soon as I dropped my luggage in the guest room, Dad met me in the hallway with a Manhattan and led me into the living room. We sat down and I took a good look at this tree he was so wowed by. It was not impressive — the lopped off top of a much larger pine out in the yard. All the key branches were on the same side giving it a decidedly lopsided look. It bent at an odd angle as if fighting a strong wind.
I drank the Manhattan. I looked at the tree. Nothing.
My Mom poked her head in to the living room, “See,” she said, “she doesn’t get it either…” She returned to the kitchen. I looked at my Dad, he shrugged.
We had a second Manhattan, I was starting to feel loose limbed and comfortably warm. Everyone else headed to bed.
Well into the second drink, Dad had an Aha moment. “Bonsai!” he yelled jumping to his feet. I shushed him but he was on a roll.
He launched into the idea of making the tree a bonsai - wrapping stones in jute and weighing down the branches. This migrated into how the tree already looked wind-blown and playing up on that. It was decided. While I searched the house for supplies, my Dad went out into the yard and returned with large stones to brace the tree in the stand so that it wouldn’t topple over.
We wrapped the main branches tightly with strands of white lights, we decided to only use red ornaments, we pilfered Mom’s forbidden 20 year stash of medicine bottle cotton and teased it into pads of “snow” to lay along the top of the branches.
It came together — a windblown tree out in the snow with all of the branches fighting against the wind. The lights and the “snow” emphasized the tilt and the ornaments, tight to the branches didn’t deter from the effect.
We were thrilled with the results.
We had a third Manhattan, toasting the tree and our success before calling it a night.
The next day was Christmas, though most people weren’t as wowed by our unconventional tree as Dad and I were, it still went over well — with everyone but Mom, she hated it.
Just as we sat down to dinner, the tree came crashing down in a big pile of cotton and broken ornaments. The base pulled out of the stand and stuck up at a 45 degree angle. Mom was furious, but dinner was on the table, so we left it. After dinner, Dad and I cleaned it up and moved the tree back out into the yard. Mom never forgave up for breaking her ornaments with our Gawd afwul tree.
But it was, the best tree ever.
This afternoon I worked out with my new trainer. He’s an adorable, energetic, fit, sweet, outgoing, 26-year old Armenian. Absolutely charming. We do one-on-one sessions a couple of times a week, and he also runs boot camps at a local park. Woman are always stopping by to ask about class. I can’t imagine that he would ever have a hard time meeting women.
Still, when I arrived today he was all wound up. He’s decide to give online dating a shot, and had been trawling one of the sites last night. This morning several woman had showed an interest in him and he showed me their profiles. Wow, ALL of them were beautiful.
It was cute how excited he was at the possibility of dating someone new. Totally made me laugh.
Almost made me want to check out the site…
Mission: Needle Drop
As a freshman in high school, a sophomore asked me on a date, about this time of year. He was a new student, tall, think, lanky with dark brown hair and a sweet smile. I was thrilled that he’d even noticed me, I was so shy. When he picked me up for the date, he leaned over and said - we have a mission…and he laid out the plans for the evening. He worked for a florist and they owned one of a half dozen tree lots around town. Our Mission was to “pretend” we were a couple, and travel to each of the other lots to look for needle drop on their trees — a sign of less fresh trees?
I know it sounds dorky and his scheming is pretty obvious, but it in reality, it was a sweet and unassuming evening. It was also cold, and exciting, to a nearly invisible 14 year old girl. I was on a Mission! It was important. And secret.
Over the course of the night, we held hands, we sang along with the carols which were piped into the lots, he put his arm around me and wrapped me into his jacket. We flirted shamelessly. Afterward, we went out for hot apple cider at the local diner.
Funny that still when I go to get my Christmas Tree, I still remember that night with fondness. He was a wonderful person for me to date because he embraced the fun in life, everything was an adventure.
He went on to become a multi-millionaire and his lavish wedding was featured in People magazine. We reconnected a few years ago. He was exactly the same person, larger than life, generous, with a lot more zeros in his bank account. When he traveled abroad he’d sometimes we’d chat with we were both online. Nothing prurient, he was married with a wife and daughter he adored. I’m glad we reconnected.
He died of a heart attack last year while on business in New York City. A life cut too short.
I got my Christmas tree today.
This is my front yard — taken from the master bedroom this morning. It was misty outside until late morning but it burned off in the after noon and we had some sun for a change. When it rains here, it smells like sage. I love that. This is an enormous live oak. Where the leaves are across the street is a rural oak park. Some days more horses than cars pass my house. This is also the road the chickens would be crossing, were the chickens to cross the road.
It was misty this morning, and the mist dampened the sound so the canyon was muffled. I love quiet mornings like this.
My little cottage in the woods was built in 1924. The entire top floor is the master suite. Three walls are windows, the fourth is a fireplace. This is a view out the window to the East. There are no houses beyond mine in this area which is unusual for Los Angeles. I own a couple of acres on this side of the house…all steep and crap land, perfect for keeping chickens and goats.
- Crush guy is currently out having drinks with my Dad…Crush guy is currently out having drinks with my Dad… The mind reels.
- The storm has finally broken and the sunset was glorious tonight…that said, my yard is ankle deep in mud. Ankle deep. Ick.
- I may end up moving up North to live with my Dad. I’m not sure how I’m going to make this happen, but it’s looking more and more like a necessity. The big if is, can I work/thrive there myself as well as care for my Dad? Also, can I find someone to rent my house?
On that note: If anyone knows a trustworthy handyman/carpenter type looking to live in a ruralish part of Los Angeles, one who is also willing to work on restoring a 1924 cottage in return for reduced rent, let me know. [The house is rumored to be built by Hollywood Legend Cecil D. DeMille — for his sister]
- I’ve got a new personal training. He is a wiry, energetic and handsome 26-year old Armenian, who’s last name is dangerously close to Batman. I started last week and he’s kicking my ass, which is good. 3 days a week + boot camp 2x a week. I can do this. I can do this. I can. I can. I…
- I dusted the chickens with Diatomateous Earth yesterday. Note to self, when working with ultra-fine powder, best NOT to wash your hair first. By the end of the experience, it was like cement and I looked like I was completely covered head-to-toe in powdered sugar. Pretty.
THE STREET WHERE I GREW UP
What I love about this neighborhood is that it is little changed from my childhood. Walking through the neighborhood this morning could only have been more perfect if the leaves on the ground were crunchy with frost. Still. Though you can never go home again, it’s pretty damn close.
Thankful - all warm and gooey and shit like that
Seeing all the thankfulness spilling out all over the dash both here and on Facebook, sheesh have we all drunk the same Kool-aid? Actually, it’s nice for a change. When one gets caught up in the drama of life, and God knows I’ve got my fair share, it’s sometimes hard to remember to acknowledge the joy, the gratitude and to be thankful.
I am thankful, and grateful, and joyful Goddammit.
Here a short list:
- My 83 year old Dad met me with a glass of Champagne, then took me to the local pub for lunch. Score.
- A boy that I don’t know, well, at all really, texted me wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving — and no matter how old you get, that’s still something special. Also a few boys I do know well have chimed in as well.
- My sister is arriving tomorrow and although we’ve been at odds, she’s AWESOME and I’m looking forward to seeing her.
- A friend of mine reminded me of the powerful TED talk by Brenee Brown on Vulnerability. I rewatched it this morning - http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html Today is a perfect day to watch it, seriously you won’t be sorry.
- My friend Carol has a friend whose son Caemon is battling Leukemia. I saw the link to the Mom’s blog in passing on FB and read her post — it says a lot about love - http://cisforcrocodile.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/an-unexpected-village/ and about the people who are in the business of lovingly caring for those the sick.
- The neighborhood where I grew up, and where my Dad still lives, remains pretty much identical as it was when I was a child. There is a lot of change outside of the area, but here, it’s a time capsule. I love that.
- Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Now go out and spread the love around and let’s keep this buzz going. :)
Six for a Saturday Afternoon
- I missed the Friday Tumblr outtage entirely as I drove round trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco which killed an impressive amount of time (350+ miles each direction). Now, I may have to drive back again…such is my life these days. Family. Oy! As an aside I can’t recall the last time my sister and I had a civil conversation. Every call recently has devolved into a screaming match and ends with her hanging up on me.
- I’m shuffling chicken pens…this may or may not be a big mistake, more on that in the next day or two. I’ve done this with hens several times, but never with roosters…If I end up going back north immediately, this could spell disaster.
- In the 6 weeks I’ve been away, rodents have discovered the house to be a huge playground with a dog and two l-a-z-y cats to scurry around. From the *gifts* they’ve left behind, I can tell they have been EVERYWHERE. Now that I’m here again, the big ole party is at an end and they are being forced to choose - the can move on to greener pastures, or head on over to rat heaven. HEPA mask to wear while disinfecting the house is the order of the day. Gross.
- I still have no hot water, but I now have a new hot water heater in a box out in the yard, so I’m *this* close to having hot water again. Yeah. Rethinking my insurance carrier as my deductible is $1000. $1000? I can’t think of a single thing in my house that would cost $1000 to replace, or that my insurance *would* replace. I trust that they have considered this as well. On the upside, having no hot water has gotten me back to the gym - at least to take a shower :)
- “Dude”, my neighbor thought it was cool that one of the hens got broody and started sitting in eggs. As a result, I have 8 new chicks. 3 yellow, 5 black. Figuring out what species they are is tougher than it seems. Two could be Buff Brahma crosses which would make me very happy. Brahmas are the BEST birds…
- Driving up and down Interstate 5, the most boring drive ever, I’ve had lots of time to think about my friend Evan, who died back in August. When we were in high school his key club installed signs along the freeway identifying the crop being grown. There’s still a stretch where the signs are still hanging. It’s bittersweet seeing them. He buried in CA. I may make a trip to say goodbye.