Monday, September 2, 2013

Driving in the Fast Lane

Yesterday was the end of one of the most remarkable week-ends that I have had in a long, long time.  So after writing that I would not make any more diary entries, I'm going to do just that!

First the Tall Texan asked me to join him at Reno's Rib Festival.  Was that a delicious, aromatic evening or what!  Rib vendors for all over the US.  Armadillos got my vote (due to a four star recommendation from the Tall Texan's mom) but by aroma alone so many were so good it is an almost an impossible to name the best.  If you are ever in Reno toward the end of August this event is definitely a must do.  Next month will be Street Vibrations.  Thousands of motorcyclists descend on Reno (and Virginia City) for the week long event...another must do!

But the seriously great part of the week-end happened at home.  The Tall Texan worked magic with the MX5 Miata.  The roadster now has new (to it) carpet, honest to goodness door panels, cup holder etc. The seats need to be replaced but that is very low  on the "To Do List".  Next we are upgrading the suspension, getting the alignment just right, putting in a roll-bar and a harness, putting on a hard top, up-grading the exhaust (we currently have a 1.8 L engine on a 1.6 L exhaust system ~ very restrictive), four point sway control and then paint it and put it on the track with other Miatas.  The Tall Texan is a canyon racer.  Not I ~ I'm still learning heel toe down shifting...and struggling!  He'll use the Miata for the canyons and I'm going to learn to race on the track with other little Miatas...eventually.  :)  Yesterday I had my first experience with canyon racing.  We went up Six Mile Canyon and down the Gieger Grade.  It was very fast and those hairpin curves at 60 miles an hour can be unbelievably breath-taking RUSH!  I simply don't have the life-time left to learn to do that kind of driving nor do I have the physical strength.  Still it was amazing to be a passenger.  I totally get the adrenaline rush of the whole thing. The Tall Texan doesn't get the rush.  The managing of the road, curves and car make him "feel good"...I heard pilots and surgeons say the same nonchalant thing.  OK, but it was a major thrill for me.  

Before we even put ourselves into the Miata we'd been riding our bikes for several hours.  What a day.  The Tall Texan is an excellent coach and helped this 65 year old over come anxiety I've managed to develop about riding in traffic.  And I was able to watch him manage his sports bike.  Wow.  How nice to be 25 and enjoy competence at so many sports and yet be calm, cool, collected and kind.

 I am determined to put a camera mount in the MX5 and on my bike. I'm not the Driver but would love to document the Tall Texan behind the wheel. Of course he knows how to take a car completely apart and put it back together again so he knows what his vehicles can or should be able to do.

 After last night's drive going sky diving (now on the bucket list) seems not such a big deal! :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Forest Fires at the End of Summer

"And where two raging fires meet together 
They do consume the thing that feeds their
~ Shakespeare

There are many forest fires blazing in the west.  But two are of particular concern: the American River fire and the Rim fire (near Yosemite).  The Yosemite fire is a week old and only  20% (and what does that mean anyway) contained.  We are about 200 miles from the intensity of this blazing fury.  But every day more smoke billows into the Washoe Valley and beyond.  

The haze, which on some days appears to be thick fog (were it not for the acrid smell of a mass of burning wood).  The pervasive and invasive smoke has reached past Reno and Sparks.  It has crawled down the canyon that is I-80 and sits heavily on my little town of Fernley (some 30 miles east of Sparks).    A TV newsman this morning told us the forest service  said the fire many not be out completely until this winter.  This morning a caller to the TV news said Carson City had ash falling like snow .  And today we had an earthquake ... 4.2 something.  Always good to be reminded that we are after all, only human.

Lightening strikes started the Rim fire. 'They' are running out of money (nothing new here) to fight fires.  Brave firefighters are out there doing their best (in rugged terrain, summer heat intensified by the heat thrown off by a conflagration) against a monstrous blaze.  Let's talk about cost just a little later, eh!   In the meantime, the rest of us must continue our lives as if it were easy to breath, that our eyes weren't stinging, and that smoke doesn't smell.

Ironically the Burning Man Festival started today.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Precious Gift of a Woman's Friendships

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over. ”

Samuel Johnson 1709 - 1784

I drove 775 miles to see my friend graduate only to become hopelessly mired in traffic in the very last leg of the trip and managed to miss the ceremony.  We were on the cell phone until protocol for the pomp of awarding degrees cut us off.  I drove to her home on the plains below Mt Rainier that is Enumclaw, Washington and wandered through the rooms I know so well.  The scent of her life and the lives of her family filled the rooms and my heart.  Friendship is so tender.  Friendship that cross time and miles are particularly precious. While waiting for folks to return from their big day, I showered to no avail because it was Western Washington and I've become a desert rat in one short year.  The warmth and high humidity had me sweating as soon as I emerged from the shower.  Well, at least the grime of a hard drive was gone.  Shortly afterwards Caroline arrived home with her son, mother and sister.  I've not met "Mom" nor her sister but like Caroline they are alert, magnetic and very kind.  Caroline's son just graduated with a degree in psychology.  I've known him since he was 12.  Now I realize that although he is just 21 he is a man not the boy who use to house sit for me.  Bittersweet to see the off spring of dear friends grow up.  Three years ago I announced to Caroline that I had the perfect job for her but first she had to become a nurse.  Then listened to the usual crap about fear of math etc.  That was then and in the now she has managed to graduate with distinction.  So much for math phobia.  She was voted most likely to become a nursing instructor.  I wouldn't be remotely surprised if that was not the path she takes on this her now second career.  She use to be an installer for an IT company.  She worked in the land of men and handles herself well there. She was also a shop steward and knows how to argue and negotiate.   Probably why she can ride her huge Harley with complete confidence. :)  She is one of those women who is completely comfortable in her body.  She is fierce in her loving and protecting.  We all went to her class's graduation party.  Fun to meet her fellow students.  Most much younger than Caroline.  I loved watching her move through the room.  Every encounter was happily passionate.  Caroline can drink me under the table and stay standing.  And luckily for all us when the party is over the drinking stops ~ who could live like that!  We talked and danced and toasted for many hours.  I heard the news about the new guys in her life to the pounding of music.  It was glorious.  I've not danced in a long time and almost forgot how liberating it is and how good it feels.  A year since we had seen one another and we've not missed a beat ~ a time warp that made us feel that there had been not seperation at all!

The next morning I had breakfast with my sister, Casey.  We took up space for hours but this is in Enumclaw so no one rushed us.  How I love this woman.  She is younger and my polar opposite.  She is so feminine and quite elegant.  Speaks French fluently.  Has traveled the world.  Always dresses beautifully and has her make-up on...and  I, well, I am an unrepentant life long tom-boy.  We make each other laugh...until our sides hurt.  She is delicate and fearful in a way that I am not.  Funny how life shapes us.  She was always a perfect student and rarely in trouble.  I didn't know I could be a good student until I put myself through college.  Frankly, I've spent my life "in trouble", if something is not right...I have to say something. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is not. There is afterall an arogance to thinking you have the right answer to so many things.  It is a problem with being the Briggs Myers INTJ.  But she is younger and grew up listening to the terrible violence that was our home.  She did not want to be beaten or molested so she learned to be submissive, funny, a spectacular writer and an academic star.  I have always been, well, not what Casey is and took the brunt Lady Blue's irrational furies and the advances of her many male partners.  I do not know the right and wrong of any this need of mine to speak out except for one thing ~ no one should beat their children ~ there is no right reason for assaulting a child. On this matter I will always be loud and adamant!  Casey calls me "TEOS" ~ the Evil Older Sister...a nick name I've come to love.  In the now, Casey and I can laugh at almost anything and we do.   I love her so much.  We are sisters as an accident of birth but we've become friends over time.  It was very hard, almost painful and desperate to say good bye.

Then my last visit was with Juanita Jo.  She is my age.  I met her in 2004.  She was the realtor that I engaged to buy a house.  As it turned out she lived just down the street and we started walking together.  Somehow treading those many miles on foot together led to a fast and loyal friendship.  We've stood by one another through the loss of family members, break-ups (I've had some whoopers), s.o's with addictions, miles of seperation and life threatening illness but the fast friendship persists.  It is in this friendship that we can both indulge in a acerbic humor that we don't use with the rest of the world.  JJ is impeccably honest and can manage money better than anyone I've every met.  Ah what a treasure she is!

I had to leave late Saturday night to make sure the Tall Texan could get to work on time.  It makes my heart hurt even now as I recall saying good bye to each one of these women as they are in so many ways the air that I breath.  I want them to stay healthy and very much alive.  If wishes were facts they have not a thing to worry about!  Good thing about long drives is the thinking time it affords.  I was able to recall details of each of these cherished gals and how they have each impacted my life.   I am thankful to my bone marrow that they count me as a friend.    I have several dear friends on the east coast as well ~ another post perhaps.  Each person is an anchor. I am so blessed that chance meetings blossomed into enduring, loving friendships.  A blessing that friends see the strengths and weakness, the light and dark sides and find a way to love one another anyway.

  PS: I realize that the last number of posts have been perhaps to much of a diary.  I will be returning to the "normal" wildwoods in the near the next post!  :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Boca ~ The Mouth

 It has been hot, hot, hot here in the high desert.  A few days ago the heat demanded that the Miata and I head to  the Sierras again.  The only happy critters were folks like the tailless lizard  above who seemed to think that baking in 100 degree heat was a great idea.   In fact I think that is how he lost his tail in the first place.  Sprawling lazily on a hot rock, he no doubt stopped paying attention while tanning and some predator wing thing made off with a partial lizard lunch.   Yum.  

Lizards aside, the Miata climbed I-80 up to the exit for the Boca Reservoir.  We took a spin around it and the Stampede Reservoir ... because it was there and it also had a road full of twists and turns.  Both bodies of water had cool breezes and lots of shade.  It was so deliciously cool and just plain old pretty that a stroll on a few paths seemed like a good idea ... the Miata took a break the shade for a while.  But did I have my fishing gear with me....NO!  ~  a symptom of a life out of control! :)  Note to self: clean the damn tackle box and put fly rod and spin rod in the trunk of the Miata...keep it there forever!  Oh and get a fishing license!

Then, alas, it was time to head back to the desert.  At least I know that RELIEF is just 45 minutes away.  Tonight I jump in the car again and head to Washington State.  The Tall Texan is house and dog sitting for me....God Bless Him!  A dear friend is graduating from college with a degree in Nursing.  She is beginning a second career in her early 50s.  Well done!   This lovely lady also rides a Harley.  Another nurse on a bike...could this be a wave of the future?  

I look forward to driving to NorthWest tonight.  I love the desert but I've had it with constant heat (I'm mourning the loss of air conditioning!). The weather there is in the 70s.  I momentarily wondered if I should take a jacket.  Humidity and cool air ... what a novel idea!

Friday, August 9, 2013

RIP Denver and Rio Grande Western RR

An open letter to Sage:  re: railroads in Provo Canyon

Dear Sage:

Thank you for your comment to my recent post.  It sent me on a hunt for information.  You obviously know your railroads and trains!   I've taken a new interest in the various trains, freight and passenger, that I see chug past my home here in Fernley!    When I was a girl, that sound meant the potential of freedom, of seeing places beyond the rugged mountains of Utah.  I didn't know then how much I would miss those high places, rattle snakes, bears, deer, mountain lions and all.

I am 65 and when I was a very little girl the train that is now the historic line you called the Heber Creeper was the Denver and Rio Grand Western RR.  It ran some kind of service from 1899 to 1967.  I was in the canyon off and on from 1950 to 1960. Anyway the Denver and Rio ran a service that connected Heber to Provo. Springdell is probably 6 miles up the canyon and well south of Bridal Falls.  When I was young six miles might have been a million for all I knew.  My cousins, friends and I were little Mountain Rats. My grandparents owned a home in Springdell and my younger sister and I would summer and even winter with them.  Lady Blue sometimes lived there with us when she was between marriages (six that we know of).   Any free moment found us outside roaming mountains, exploring the river, sneaking into Canyon Glen, finding horses to ride bare-back and of course, walking the railroad tracks.  We use to feel for the vibration of an on-coming train with our bare feet on the rails.  We placed pennies on the track and waited for the train to flatten them.  The flat penny was each kid's badge of honor and courage.  It was in this canyon that the older guys taught me how to track every manner of four legged animal.  My Dad appreciated the skill as he took his daughter deer hunting with him...I was the ringer.  I mentioned rattle snakes earlier.  We (the boys and I) collected the rattles as another badge of honor/courage and a kind of currency (a story for another time).  Now I respect rattle snakes and to this day can hear that rattle from a great distance - I no longer follow snake tracings in the sand, to shoot them :).   As an adult I leave them be and hope they will do the same.  Obviously I was a complete dyed in the wool tom-boy by the time I could run faster than Lady I would say by 5 years of age.   By the way,  I have a deep and abiding fear of water moccasins.  The Dell has a huge pond in it (to this day).  Kids for several generations have spent hot summer days swinging on a tree rope and dropping into the freezing spring water that filled the pond.  The down side...we used to see water moccasins swim there too.  Nothing could clear out the water faster than one of that snake!

So that Sage is part of the story.  The vibration of train weight on tracks and the wail of the engine whistle, and yes, Brian the squeal of wheels and brakes...all (as with you) call me.  As trains roll by this little house, I can almost smell the Aspens mixed with the mint garden of a neighbor's in the Dell  and hear the night wind blow through Provo Canyon.  And yes Walking Man, it was a blessing to have that calm, safe, yet wild  place in my life.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"I cried at first . . . and then, it was such a beautiful day, I forgot to be unhappy"

~ Frances Noyes Hart 1921

Leading a Linear Life : a view from the other side of the tracks...
~ WR 2012

I tried, quite to my own surprise, to be sad about the sudden changes life has presented.  Tears, my tears, flowed suddenly and happened at odd and inopportune moments. I started to unpack and sort at night, in part, because it is about 40 degrees cooler but also,  in part, because I didn't want to be around other people who seemed so, well, satisfied with life.  Don't they know about 'sudden change'?  Don't they know how 'confusing and off kilter' life is?   Suddenly, yesterday, I hopped in my little beat up Miata and drove to Truckee to 'cool off' in every sense of the word.  
I noticed people were smiling and I didn't need to begrudge them their moments of joy.  I smiled back and my face enjoyed the experience.  The drive home was fun.  I love the 70 mph speed limit and with the convertible top down even a beat up Miata is a cool place to be.  

Arriving at home I noticed that in spite of my best efforts to be angry and depressed (the same things actually) I have, in fact,  unpacked.  I have even moved much of the excess to the storage unit in the back yard.  So life begins again in Ferntuckey.  I have to get a job.  Retirement, that lasted oh ... a month and a half ... is over.  Oooops, too bad.   I would like to not be a nurse.  But that remains to be seen...not even sure it is possible.  I want to have time to ride my bike and work on the Miata and photograph all that good stuff out there.

Life in this mobile park is actually very sweet.  I have great landlords, my neighbors are very nice, yards are tidy, people wave and say 'hi'.  I do wonder about living such a linear life though.  Single wides, or at least the one I live in, have a living room/ kitchen in the middle and a hall way with a bed room and bath at either end.  When one lives in a straight line does it change how ones sees the world?  Of course this is compounded by the trains that move by on their straight tracks.  Adding another simple joy to an ongoing list - watching, from my front deck, the trains roll by the house.  Where are they going?  What are they carrying?  All speed and power -  rushing to keep up with what?

Life is good ~ even when it's changing.  The journey continues...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Buried Under Boxes ... But for the First Time in Weeks ~ Smiling!

Moved this week end.  It was hectic and messy.  Lady Blue swung between anger and tears (that is simply the two sides of a single coin).  Now we've said our good byes and she is moved to a "5 star" assisted living facility.  I'm living in a single wide mobile home in a mobile park in a place the locals call Ferntucky but formerly I'm living in Fernley, Nevada.  I live on the last street in the park and my street abuts the rail road tracks.  When I stroll with my lab Tye in the evening I can see the lights of the truck stop on the not to distant horizon.  My new neighborhood is a mixture of Latinos and whites....almost just like me....if we had a few homes for Navajo people it would be perfect. So several stars.  I feel certain that I am the only Jew here but that seems to be about right since leaving Reno in March.  

I just heard the rumble of a train rolling through.  I am awash in memories from Provo Canyon in my childhood and the trains I could hear from my bedroom when I lived in Sacramento and the MBTA rattling over the raised tracks when I lived in my first apartment (a three story walk up) on Beacon Hill. That rumble is a auditory comfort food, so to speak.  

The "house" is full of boxes.  Last night I excavated a living room, where I am now sitting.  Just being able to find a chair in which to sit is a giddy pleasure.  My landlords (two younger married women) use to live here.  Now they live next door.   They are both very nice except they root for the wrong football teams.  Both house holds are devoted dog people.  Both homes have fenced yards so the hounds can safely be outside.  What I don't have is central a/c.  This is the high desert and it will be in the 90s today ~ well, almost every day until October.  Hence the need to get up early before the sun is up in order to work before it is insufferable inside and out.  The front and back bedrooms have window a/c so sleep is pleasant but all these boxes must be opened, sorted through and items placed, given to the Good Will or thrown away.  That is the part of moving I hate...making it all fit in the "new place".  THE SORT is now happening in the living room and kitchen.  Both rooms emit the steady white noise of the hum of fans.  At about 3 pm it is nap time because the temperature inside is just slighty cooler than outside.

Alas it is time to get to work.  The master bed room needs to be unearthed today and tomorrow's project is the office...I can just barely open the office door because I have shoved everything in that is not immediately needed into that very small room.  Off to the salt mines I go.  Oh before signing off,  I took the Virago out for a spin at sundown.  What a sweet ride!  Kept the face shield up because it is just to hot to wear it down so got to really feel the evening breeze.  Another simple joy! ;)

Be safe and happy!  More later....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Yay and Boo of CHANGE!

"If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude." (!)
~ Maya Angelou

Times have been troubling here in the high desert.  A battle has been lost.  Lady Blue and I had hoped we would live together until she took her last breath.  We have been unable to over come family members with more clout, connection and legal know-how than either of us has or could afford.  Last week she was appointed a guardian (it was voluntary and we both agreed to it). Then the Tall Texan and I were both fired. 

 Funny how life can turn upside down in a heart beat.  Lady Blue is being moved to assisted living and her house sold.  I found a rental home some 30 miles away.  And, yes, once again I am packing.  Lady Blue is blue indeed but she will survive this event, as will I.   We will remain close.  There has been far too much hard work to get to know one another, too forgive and to forget, to let go of it now!


 The Tall Texan remains a dear friend to "his Ladies".


Signed a six month lease to a neat rented home.  Six months to think.  The landlord allows two dogs and a kitten!


Then today the spirit was uplifted by finally finding a great deal on a beginner bike (Gotta love Craig's List and oh yes, the Tall Texan). 


When life is gray and feeling pretty dismal...there nothing like the open road to free up feelings and remind one that tomorrow truly is a new day.  Starting over at 65 is not the end of the world!

Yup, just a girl and her BIKE!  


And one more time...thank you Tall Texan ~ you are my hero!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Of Mothers and Daughters and Birthday ~ Oh No!

Motorcycle Vector Graphics

“Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.” 

Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Last week Lady Blue and I joined the Tall Texan in a hunt for a good used 250 bike  for me.  She had to join us of necessity as she can no longer be left alone.  Over the weekend she told the Texan that if I got a bike she would never forgive him.  It was his fault, as far as she was concerned.  He used to have a bike after all.  She lectured long and hard about what kind of people use bikes.  All this polemic deeply rooted in the prejudices of her youth.  She called me white trash.  "Okay if you really are white; I'm of mixed race"... that undiplomatic moment bought me 10 minutes of peace in the 45 minute drive to Reno.  Once in Reno we met up with our friend the Tall Texan and he did the work of investigating bikes.  He examined them, listened to them, asked all the right questions about maintenance, dents and other suspect things.  I just mounted and dismounted...if I can't get on and off there will be no riding!  We didn't find the ONE.  I got back in to the car and she said "You look okay on a bike"  - it was a full pardon!  What a moment in time!

A  week later:  
"We wanted to put 65 candles on you cake but it would have to be the size of a coffin!"  ~Unknown

Today Lady Blue is silent.  She is giving me the evil eye and responding with one word answers.  She is angry because last night she told me to get my hair out of my eyes and I said "NO" albeit in a less than diplomatic tone.  This diplomacy is really hard!  I reckonned that a 64.999 year old can have her too curly bangs in her eyes if she wants (would that be a 2 or a 15 year old regression?).  She knows it is my birthday but then she has never really celebrated it with me.  So what the heck does she care.  I actually don't care about the birthday either but the silent routine is really getting annoying.  My son sent me roses!  It has worsened her mood.  She has memory loss.  How long do you suppose this can go on?

" 'Andie slammed the car door. "You know what I'd like for Christmas, Flo? Boundaries. You can gift me early if you'd like.' ” 
 Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time

Monday, June 24, 2013

"The air of summer was sweeter than wine."
~ Longfellow

(Lake Tahoe - this photo taken by the Tall Texan) 

It has been a nearly perfect week-end.  I took the motorcycle safety course.  LOVED it.  Am as sore as can be.  I learned the hard way how much I have to do in terms of some serious strength training. The time will pass anyway so might as well dive deeply into a healthier and stronger way of living while I float on the stream of the clock's tide!   Back to the gym it is for some weights and other stuff (while it all still hurts and I can clearly remember which muscles are so weak).

'What else?' you ask. Sold my lovely, dependable Galahad (2006 Subaru) for a Miata convertible roadster that is a mess!  Will be putting (if all the stars are correctly aligned) an exhaust system into it this coming week end. But running lights need to be fixed (all together missing right now), there is no a/c and never will be, seats need to be replace,  some Bondo, sanding and paint. Alright I admit, it needs almost everything but it does run. I am anxious to begin this project, with the tutoring and help of the Tall Texan...assuming he will tolerate a kind of aging apprentice.  In a few days I'll be 65.  It's time I knew something about what makes the automobile GO.  Am also searching for a used bike (1980 something like a Honda / Suzuki / Yamaha 250).  Eventually something similar in an ATV.  I don't need a 'rock climber' but sure-footed transportation on mountain paths (and sandy beaches etc) would be a good thing.  I rather love being a desert rat and want to be able to get into all the cracks and corners with my camera.  Lady Blue is not happy about any of this.  Oh well.

The Tall Texan took Lady Blue and me (he refers to us as 'his Ladies' - it is very dear but also reminds me of how old I am) on a wonderful drive to Donner Lake, back home via Lake Tahoe and Carson city.  What beautiful country.  Will try to get a little fishing in at Donner.  There are so many docks available and if one gets there early some serious fishing is to be had!  The waters in both lakes are blue, blue, blue and then some.

The week end ended with the solstice moon gracing our skies.  Wonderful sight!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

About On-Line Dating: "Lions, Tigers and Bears, 

Oh My!" ~The Wizard of Oz, 1939

" I'm not the girl who always has a boyfriend. I'm the girl who rarely has a boyfriend. " ~ Taylor Swift

I recently signed on to an online dating sight for people over 50. Is it mean spirited   out there! One guy wrote about what the older gals included in the 'must have' list: " must shower daily ", "  No bar flies " sow your oats some place else " ; ( and my personal favorite) "cannot have teeth in a jar".  Wonder why no wrote "must always put the toilet seat down" or is that assumed?  Men include rather prominently 'must be slender' or 'physically fit'
and want women who like to cuddle/kiss/hold hands and so on. Most seem to be wanting a serious relationship
Both men and women seem to be saying they are looking for sex. Some say they are looking for marriage.  Ah, the criteria leaves me out any number of times. Moreover, I am fat.  The dating service descriptor is 'big and beautiful'.   So although I am looking for friends or pen pals I can't seem to get beyond physical attributions. Plus (speaking of attributions) when I am asked a question I answer it. One guy (he's from back East)asked what was on my bucket list; I shared and he wrote that my bucket list wasn't a list it was a dumpster. " MMM. Dumpster? It does have almost 10 items on it. I didn't know Bucket Lists had a fixed limit? Is it like a checking account? If you have four too many items on the list, you are over-drawn? At almost 65 I remain a a goal oriented person.  I am also a fan of Maude (as in Harold and Maude ~ and old cult film) I've always heard the clock ticking with the rapid passage of time. With a light heart but an awareness of built in expiration dates, I want the list completed...even if it is too long ergo a DUMPSTER.

I thought perhaps having someone to write to or chat with would lessen the stress and isolation of care-taking and having only an 85-year-old person with dementia to talk to day in and day out (except week-ends, when the tall Texan comes to visit with the parent-person). Nevertheless, '45 views' and just one 'contact' is telling me otherwise. Perhaps it is better to leave on-line dating to a younger, friskier and a more emotionally flexible group of people.

Were you ever the only person not chosen on a kickball team in grade school....what me fragile?

Who needs this when I await the arrival of my Medicare card in the mail? :)

(may or may not be continued...)


Monday, June 17, 2013

"The dream was always running in front of me.  To catch up, to live in the moment in unison with it, that was the miracle."
~ Anais Nin

A Time to Catch Up:

As Lady Blue and I settled into a new life in Northern Nevada, I did find a few moments to travel with camera in hand.  We live in a small town on the south side of the Virginia Mountain range.  There are fewer wild horses to be seen here.  As some of you may know the 'wild ones' traveled through our yard at the house in Reno.  But this side of the Virginia's one must work harder to catch a glimpse of these intriguing feral creatures. My camera and hopes always at the ready. There are fewer in large part because the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) used contractors with helicopters to chase mustangs out of the canyons and into waiting trucks.  The wild horses were then shipped to a holding facility, where conditions, at least according to concerned animal advocates, were less than desirable.  In the early Spring, I managed to catch two sightings of a few horses and snapped their photos.  There is a hot debate boiling over in the western states, about whether or not we should send these horses to slaughter.  I personally vote an emphatic "NO".

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Hay on the Edge of the Desert:

I have no idea if there is a second and third hay in this part of the world.  One and only first hay should be enough in this parched and thirsty place.  In a world that often feels out of control, wind rows and newly baled hay remind me that there is order and calm somewhere.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"She always says, my lord, that facts are like cows. If

you look them in the face hard enough they generally

 run away."

~ Dorothy Sayer

Every now and again, I am in need of Bovine Therapy.  Then the longing for another time and place passes.  Makes it easier to remember that was then and this is now.

 The above - probably a Hereford and Angus mix.

Belted Galloways

Monday, June 10, 2013

“I have spent weeks in the desert, forgetting to look
 at the moon, he says, as a married man may spend days never looking into the face of his wife. These are     not sins of omission but signs of pre-occuopation.” 

     ~ Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

The Yin and Yang of Desert and Water: Washoe Lake

Sunday's photo were taken as a storm of lightening and thunder spilled over the Sierras into Washoe Valley.

Lightening struck the ground across the Lake.  The dry sagebrush instantly exploded into brush fire. First 
responders seemed to appear out of thin air to contain the burn!

Then drove home through a dust storm and high winds:

(Keep looking .... you just never know what you will see!)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"When you find your path, you must not be afraid.  You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes.  Disappointment, defeat, and despair are show us the way."
~ Paulo Coelho

Finally: Part Four ~ Three Strikes and You're OUT!

Fort Churchill is located at the intersection 
('intersection' gives the impression of busy 
 traffic - the opposite of this particular location) of Road 2b and Rt 95A.  An hour or so of free time remained of my day off so it was onward to Lake Lahontan.  This was to be my second visit to Lahontan.  My family and I visited this place once before at the end of winter but entered the area from Highway 50.  That was before the trees leafed out and during a dust storm, I expected the appearance of the place to be altered.  

I'm sorry but I can't help but fill in a bit of geology kind of stuff here:
The fascinating part about this corner of arid earth is that it was all once a huge ancient lake - 8,500 square miles of it! It was 900 feet deep.  A lot has changed in the 12,700 years since then!  The ancient lake stretched into what is now California and Southern Oregon.  Now dry land and sagebrush thrive where vast the waters and its occupants once ruled.  Pyramid and Walker Lakes are all that is left of that primordial time.  But I digress,  Lake Lahontan is man-made.  The Carson River was dammed in 1915 and the Dam birthed the recreation area.   The Lake has 69 miles of shoreline so I said to myself...'Self wonder how much of it is drive-able?'  That was the thought that started the to know when to stop.  Strike One!

There are primarily primitive sites for camping.  Although now one or two beach sites are improved.  I prefer the primitive myself...'take out what you brought in' sort of thing.  
I am a fisherman who uses barbless hooks so I feel the need to mention that the fishing (barbless or not) here includes: walleye, catfish and bass.  This land is shared with my personal favorite, wild horses and other critters like bobcats, fox, coyotes, deer, assorted migratory birds and home to Nevada's only known nesting pair of bald eagles.  

OK so much for data.  Galahad (my trusty Subaru) and I wove in and out of the various beaches:

and investigated assorted camp sites:
Most of the vegetation is sagebrush, Cottonwoods and some willow trees.  Beware cottonwoods...these trees are also nicknamed "widow makers"... I would think twice before planting a camper directly under one on a windy day.

I caught a glimpse of a blue house I'd seen during that first winter visit.  Sadly for Galahad and me, I decided to test the trails on the perimeter of the area because that home, in the three months since I saw it las has blossomed into an elaborate fantasy. 
 It sits high above the water on the Hwy 50 side of the Lake.  It is isolated and dramatic.  I imagine that it would be a wonderful place to write poetry and prose, photograph whatever, paint and indulge in a bit of fiddle playing.  I imagine jamming celtic/blues/ country music with friends on that spot.  Friends?  Ironic, in that I don't know more than a soul here.   Then I made my second big mistake of the day!  I had to get closer to that closed-up house. STRIKE TWO! 

Poor Galahad!  Off we went in search of a path to the Blue Palace of Solitude.  It took a bit more wandering but finally we arrived at the other side of the lake.  Only then did I noticed I was driving on a too steep, deep sand path.  Alas, when I should have turned south onto the sand with vegetation I headed north and uphill...why...because I was daydreaming, not charting a course nor was I thinking safety first.  Suddenly I heard the rear passenger wheel spin and felt the car slip.  Instead of doing what I have done a 1000 times before ... let's start with letting some air out of my tires before treading on sand, slow gently to a stop and straighten the dang wheels and ease ever so slowly into reverse. THE FINAL STRIKE THREE! Not one of those things happened, I startled and gunned the gas. The window was opened and the car filled with dust and grit. Panic. The car buried itself in sand on one side with wheels spinning in the air on the other side.   GOOD GRIEF...have I learned nothing in 64.9 years?  I finally pulled myself together and pulled myself out of the vehicle. The car was up to it's axle in sand and leaning precariously to the right side.  It was 92 degrees out and we were going no where. Galahad had taken a 100' slide and buried one side in the sand. I sat on the in the sand on the passenger side  and mumbled a number of nasty words before stretching out on said sand and staring at the sky. I said aloud, to any insect or bird that would listen, 'what in the hell am I going to do'?  Nothing to do but a lot of shoveling.  There is nothing like sweating and getting a sunburn to ease the pain of stupidity. "YOU'RE OUT"! 

 At least the car shifted to a slightly more upright position.  Finally broke down and called a young friend for help. Had to fight off the fury of tears that wanted to tell my face how inept I'd been.  To shovel out would have meant shoveling back about 100 feet.  Oh holy cow!  Just as my friend was heading in my direction a Park Ranger drove up in his pick-up,  skittered over my sandy trap and said in the most polite voice he could muster "Good afternoon Ma'am, how did you get into this mess?".  To which I replied with an enthusiastic nonsequitar "Oh my God, I could kiss the ground you walk on".  He smiled kindly down at me (as anyone would to a batty old woman stuck in sand in the middle of no where) and stated "Let's get us a truck with a winch up here."  I called home and told my tall Texan friend to turn around and go home (note to self - that young person offered to help without hesitation - pay that forward WR), two four wheeled rescuers had arrived.  It took about 45 minutes with two trucks and a winch to pull Galahad out of the pit I put him in and I managed to get stuck one more time when turning the vehicle around ... this time on vegetation and sand.  As the tires were not nearly as stuck the second rescue had us out in minutes.  One ranger, whose wife it turns out was expecting their second child at any time, told me his wife wanted a Subaru...I assured him today's activity was not the fault of the car.  Once again a sweet, patient smile.   Duh, like he didn't know that! When I get stupid it usally lasts a while!  Kind of like intoxication but different.  I was informed that I was about the 1000th person they has rescued from the sand so far in 2013.  Cripes, do we share a defective gene? I filled out a form at the ranger station to thank them for their professionalism and rescue (at no time did these men laugh out loud or even smirk).  And then drove the 'drive of shame' home...repeating over and over "NEVER take your eyes off the road and stay calm no matter what!". 

I did not take a photo of the car up to is axle in sand...I was too embarrassed...'pride goeth before the fall'.

Thank you Rangers! dd And thank you Tall Texan!