Monday, July 27, 2009

Almost done - again

I know this looks bad but that's all that's left to organize and pack! Just a few tasks left to do and by Wednesday I will be headed north on a coastal route once past Sacramento. About 1000 miles to Puget Sound. Bliss!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Cosmic Tap on the Shoulder - Remembering the Divine

I've been feeling sorry for myself. I have to unload and reload part of the shipping container. I've just about finished packing. The truck will be here at 1:30 PM. Things have to be in the container. I am over 60 years old, my back hurts like heck and I'm counting pennies to make sure this move and paying bills all works until the next pay check comes (ergo, no more hired help)- that would be the end of August. So I decided to make a Good Will run - all the 'stuff' not used in a year off to a new owner (guarantees that I won't cave in and pack 'it' at the last moment). Plus GW sells good boxes and they are less expensive than other places. On my way home I stopped to get ice. The fridge is in the container so meals are coming out of the Coleman. The cooler ice doesn't last too long as inside the house it is 80 and outside it is 100.

As I came out of the store, a young woman asked me if she could wash my car windows for change. I said 'not today' to her and 'how annoying' inside my head. She said 'thanks anyway and God bless'. She walked around the corner and waited for the next car. I thought to myself, "self are you working for points in the jerk of the year contest?", got out of the car and handed her a few bucks. She smiled and said "God bless you" again.

Now the cosmic tap on the shoulder. For two days I've been trying to give people I know the food in my pantry so it does not go to waste. As I watched her wash windows I realized that giving it to those folks would have been waste. Note to self: "Stop feeling annoyed with everything and take a second to make a small difference". So once again I hop out of my car and ask her if she would like some groceries. Her eyes instantly filled with tears and she nodded yes. I told I would be back in just a bit. When I got back she was inhaling an egg roll probably from the earlier exchange. She is too thin. She told me "my mom and me have to decide every day which one is going to eat - today was her day". I asked if she could get help getting this stuff home and she said yes. I gave her the box and bags of food. She started to say "God..." and I stopped her. She reminded me not to judge, but to see, listen, and remember. That is a grace - to remember to see the divine in another being. There is a world of pain out there - far worse than fixing the dang shipping container. She reminded me to be human. Reminded me to find the divine in each person. As I drove off, I could hear her on the phone with her Mom "tell the kids we can eat tonight - we have food." Thank you little lady - you made my day!

I am reminded of something someone once told me, "There is always some kind of an answer, the only uncertainty is - can we be quiet enough to hear it?" These are difficult times for people. The Central Valley has been economically devastated in many sectors. Many people who thought they would never be homeless - are! Many people are running out of food and shelter. Do some engage in unhealthy behaviors, of course, some do. Hunger is hunger , regardless of how you got there. I'm going to listen to the quiet - to find my own small way to ease suffering beyond my duties as a nurse. I am blessed to have chosen a profession that has not been hurt in this economy - yet. I also know hunger and homelessness can be one pay check away for any of us.

Almost done

You can see by the small outdated TV that I don't spend a lot of time sitting in front the tube. However as this move is in the final phase I have been happy to have the electronic company in the nearly empty house...and the lawn chair for a perch! I have a few more boxes to throw in the POD - then most of the move (packing wise) will be complete. Left on the "To Do List" the car tune-up, the hound off to the vet to get sutures removed (that is it's own story for another day), wait for repaired specs, mail a few things and by Wednesday I'll be headed north. My friends up North complain that they are having a heat wave. The valley has at least temporarily cured me of complaining about temps in the 90's. Right now 90's feels good! Over a 100, I'm not so happy!

The good thing about a move is that it forced me to reduce and recycle. It is a smaller house hold I'm sending North than any I've had since I was in my late 20s...40 years of collecting stuff. It was pretty silly when I sorted it all out. Paper shredded as well. Time for one more cup of coffee and then it is off to finish the business of the day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Morning thoughts

For me at least, it is easier to write in the earlier morning hours. Short stories, poems and posts all seem to clamor to live on a page just before the sun comes up. This morning I am calculating how many more boxes it will take to move my life from one location to another. I found my winter clothing this morning. Puget Sound can be nippy in the winter but it does not usually have the snow storms that blow through New England – well in quantity of snow that is. Still as I pack my belongings or decide which to give away, I find that I am happy to have uncover gloves, mittens, a woolen scarf, and amazingly enough my boots. I don’t know why I held on to those when the woolen coat resides elsewhere in the world now. Like meeting an old friend, I am happy to see those warm although worn example of winter foot apparel. I am aware of my own occasional stray anxious thought about the place I move to in a week’s time. The house is all electric. Should I get a generator? I wonder why there isn’t a gas stove to warm the house if the electric fails. Perhaps the Island does not allow propane? That’s the New Englander in me fretting about weather and winter. My memory strays to stacking wood in the original Wild Woods – wood the sentinel that stands against snowy assaults. One can live in any environment if proper plans have been made. Even there I would have preferred to have a gas stove but it was not an option at the time.

Last night I chatted with my eldest son on the internet. He lives in Asia. I think he will stay there – he’s found a place he loves. He’s a teacher and is himself a perennial student of sorts. There is something in Asia that has won his heart. We discuss politics and he shares what he has seen and what he has learned. He is my world tour guide. He will be home in a month. I can barely wait to see him. My youngest son is in Vermont working as the camera man on a shoot for a potential reality TV show. His lovely girl friend is the producer. It is their first project together…which is exciting in and of itself! I look forward to hearing all about this adventure. I don’t watch reality TV shows but I wouldn’t miss this one if it is a “go”.

So it is time to finish the morning coffee and begin another day of getting ready for a move! I know I am blessed to have these options in my life. And I am blessed to have my wonderful, kind and gentle sons. In my heart of hearts I am hoping that this is my last move but don’t hold me to this thought. Who knows what life will put on the path.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

saying good bye

Every time I want to whine about the heat (which is often) I think about my horse friends out on Granite Road. In the Spring it was cool for a bit but now the land they roam is parched and brittle. Of course wild horses and burros put up with those conditions all the time. These more domesticated guys seem to do alright. Sometimes they are even frisky in the hot evening air. I know that the prance and gallop to my car has more to do with the possibility of there being carrots or apples in my purse than just my mere presence. There is a special comfort in stroking a horse and scratching his ears and head. It is instantly calming. So tonight we stand on our own sides of barbed wire fencing and I will say good bye and tell them about packing and the trip ahead. Eventually one will nudge me through the fence, "got any more carrots there"...makes me wonder if this is how a bartender feels at last call. Only the horse isn't asking for 'one more for the road' in quite the same way. The horses and I take turns with the roles of bar keep and client...listener and the listened to, standing by barbed wire in the evening heat in the Central Valley.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

R.I.P. My Old Companion

My old cat, well over twenty years, went to the Rainbow Bridge today. I will so much miss his persistent wake up call in the morning and his tender snuggle at night - more than mere words can express. Keep Brandy company for me - my old guy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Early Morning Musing...

All the plants in the photo above have been"re-homed". The back yard is barren - well not quite, there is a plethora of tumble weeds but they will die and blow off with this new wave of heat. But at least the patio plants have a good home with another plant lady! :) The many shelves of books are almost packed - then it is on the the kitchen. Only the essentials will be left out. With the passage of time, a busy life and living as a single person I find I like cooking less and less. Other than when someone comes to visit I simply don't cook any more. It is primarily cook books that have gone on to be recycled too.

Leaving the Central Valley is not difficult. Too hot, too arid and too dusty for me - perfect for growing allergies. Leaving the people is another matter. This morning however, I realized that one of the wonderful things that my profession has given me is a wealth of daughters. Perhaps now more than any other time, as I am an older nurse. Most of my career goals have been met and now I spend my time not only working on work but also helping younger women (nurses and other administrative personnel) obtain their goals. In the process, I have a rich opportunity to get to know them as people, to see their lives in the context of family, problems, victories, joys and sorrows. It is a special joy to bear witness to their lives. To help them grow stronger as health care professionals and to make good friends along the way. It is a special blessing and one for which I am deeply grateful.

Have a peaceful day and I hope you have weather temperatures less than a 104F! :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

End of Another Day

"Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors ..."

~ Longfellow

The heat is dense and persistent. The day is done but the work...the work is endless. This place called home is a jumbled mess: boxes, tape, goods every where. Down-sizing. So easy to say and type and so difficult to actually do. In fact, belongings have been whittled down over the past four years. This will be a compact move. If not used with in a year's time, it is not likely to be used again. Some possessions sent to grown children, others off to the Goodwill and a few to friends - recycled in some one's life other than mine. The exception - the books. But even some of those have parted from my ownership. It is interesting to note the loss of a sense of burden with the diminishing possessions.

To all of you calling the day to an end - sleep well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shadows - better late than never - again!

I decided to dash out this evening to take a few shadow photos of this place I am leaving. This dry land was so unattractive to me last summer. This summer, I find, after spending a year of photographing the back roads, I have come to know the character of this arid land. I will miss certain spots. It is here that I have come to understand the lore of cowboys, the Wild West, early oil explorers and farmers who forced produce from unforgiving earth. It took grit to build an oil and agricultural empire here.

There is a haunting beauty to the heat. She leaves brittle plants, tough animals and a can-do people in her blazing path. All seem to endure year after year.

The herd of horses that graze these fields use to gallop off when I came too we can stand next to one another on our separate sides of the barbed wire fence and just visit a spell.

The grass is tinder dry.
Tumble weed, sage brush and fence line....just outside the city limit.
The sturdy guardian of private land -braving all the elements to silently warn us to keep our distance

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A good reminder!

Dr. Jay of Yoga for Cynics writes an interesting post today. I copied one of the quotes for this post:

"...the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one...
Albert Einstein"

It was a jolt to read the words. Have been struggling with family issues and all the feelings that can be stirred up by relationship and kinship. I forgot about "then and now" and decided not to spin anymore. The journey literally and figuratively continues. Packing and working at the same time (whatever 'time' means here) - planning a leave-taking put me in the mind set of forgetting to be in the moment...right here and now. The only moment I have is the one I am in...the rest is memory or fantasy and perhaps that is the same thing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July in the Valley

It is simply H.O.T. At 1 P.M. the temp hit a toasty 103F. Night brings a cool down to about 76F. I'm am preparing to leave. It is difficult because I have the pleasure of working with wonderful, caring professionals. They are youthful and enthusiastic about elder care. Saying good bye, cleaning up projects and then going home to pack seem out of sync somehow. Farewell is never easy. There is a tension that sits there in the back ground wondering - will the new place be okay? Will any of these folks and I stay in touch? Even, will my old cat make this journey? Some answers are yes and some are no. To be continued....