Monday, December 21, 2020

Hearing From Old Friends


 

This afternoon I received an email from my friend who recently had Covid.  She said that she was ready to talk on the phone, even though she is still on oxygen, and asked me when I was available.  I called her right away, and we chatted for quite a while. She filled me in on how her recovery is going.  It's going to be a long, slow process of healing.  She finds it  scary with her oxygen levels, (which she measures at home,) and said that her blood pressure is high.  There is so much that we don't know about this virus.  It is deadly, mysterious and unpredictable.  I was thrilled to hear her voice, though.

She told me that she had received my card and check, and she sounded so grateful.  Like so many people, she lost her job recently, and it will help her.  I feel for her.  She said that I can share her hospital horror story with you, so when I am feeling more energetic after a cup of coffee tomorrow, I'll write it out here.  Right now I'm just too wiped.  It's very shocking to read what she went through; she describes it in detail.  

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Bison Order Arrived

This afternoon my package of Nebraska Bison steaks arrived in the mail.  They were still frozen solid, and in perfect condition.    They are now lined up in the freezer, with one defrosting on the counter for dinner tonight.  I baked a couple of small russet potatoes in the toaster oven.  I'll make a salad to have with them.  Traditional meat and potatoes meals remind me of my childhood. My dad owned cattle, so we ate a lot of quality beef.

Have you ordered anything in bulk lately?  We may be in for a stricter lockdown rules in January, here in California.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Making Donations

 I just received an email today from my friend that was in the hospital with Covid.  Her description of what it was like to have this virus in the hospital basement read like a horror movie.  I was sickened by the details.  It's really sad to hear how overworked the medical workers are now.  It sounded so frightening and lonely.  My heart goes out to her.  I sent her a Christmas card and a check for groceries.  Thankfully, she has neighbors and family that are helping to keep her stocked up with food.  Simple things like vacuuming and dusting are very hard for patients like her who are now home on oxygen.  She also worries about losing power.  My prayers are with her.

I made donations to a couple of charities, and wrote out checks to dancers that I thought probably could really use money to buy food.  I hope it helps.  Just making a delicious dinner can really lift your spirits.  

Yesterday I put together a homemade pizza; it was delicious!  I made the sauce the day before, so that all of the flavors and seasonings could blend together and  mature.  It was therapeutic to make the dough.  There is something about kneading flour, oil, yeast, and water that is very grounding.  I have enough dough, sauce, and cheese in the fridge to make three more pizzas.  Yum!  

After reading about my friend's harrowing experience, I am going to wear two masks, and have decided not converse with people who don't wear one, even outside.  I just don't want to take the risk.  Do you know anyone who has had Covid?

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

In the Mood to Mop the Floors


This afternoon I felt the urge to clean, so I followed that energy.  I  vacuumed the carpets, and mopped the floors.  I used hot water with my homemade liquid soap for the first coat, then followed it with  hot water mixed with white vinegar for the rinse.  The house feels clean.  The air feels different; it reminds me of my mom's house.  She was an exceptional housekeeper.  I am no where near at her level, but she cleaned for hours every day.  She would approve.  She loved this place.  She found her big house a burden as she got older.     

I dusted the furniture, as well.  The past couple of days I've been catching up on the laundry, and will deep clean the bathroom and kitchen tomorrow.  It is much easier to take care of a small home as you age.  I'm so glad that I opted for older furniture and appliances.  They are extremely well made.  The newer stuff falls apart so quickly.  I love what I have; it's sturdy and trustworthy.  My Kenmore washer and dryer are fifty years old, and they are still going strong.  My stove/oven is seventy years old, and it works perfectly.  It's a relief not to need to have repairmen in the house right now.  I don't want to take the risk, with Covid.

I'm going to do some yoga before bed.  It helps to have healthy routines during these times.  Our habits create our future.  I am so thankful that I stayed on a disciplined budget for all of these years.  It has made the pandemic much easier for me than it would have been when I was younger.  How are you faring?  

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The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Do Not Need

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Enjoying the Sunshine

 Today the sun is out, and I took Lula for a walk through our gorgeous neighborhood.  I returned a couple of DVD's to the library, (which we are so lucky is still open,) and checked out three more to watch at home.  I have been thoroughly enjoying getting lost in movies and Youtube videos again.  It's so relaxing to sit by the fire with sweet Lula at my feet. 

I found out that my friend was released from the hospital.  What a relief!  I've been watching tapes of people who have long term effects from Covid, and it is very educational.  The doctors say that when they perform autopsies, they are finding that the virus is very much like cancer.  It is fascinating.  I have always been interested in biology, dissection, and the body.  

Are you still able to get outside where you are?  I hope that you have friends and family that you can communicate with, and that you don't feel isolated.  I am so thankful for my close friends and co-workers.  I also greatly appreciate you, my blogging buddies and readers.  My phone calls my friends and neighbors are really comforting.  Do you have support?

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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Grave News


 

 I just found out today that a close friend of mine and her husband are in the hospital with Covid-19.  She is too weak to talk.  I got tears in my eyes as I was reading the email about it.  She is young...in her fifties.  She was always healthy, strong, fit and beautiful.  

I spoke with her on the phone for a long time about a month ago.  She told me sadly that she had lost several friends and family members to this virus. At the time she hadn't contacted it.  Her show business pals and I are praying for her.  It's scary how hard and fast Covid hits people.  It reminds me of the 80's, when we lost so many close tribe members who were dancers to AIDS.  They were the last people you ever thought would get ill.  They   died so young.  There was so much that we didn't understand about its transmission at the time.  People would get horribly thin, and then they'd be gone.

I hope you are all safe and well.  Suze Orman had an excellent podcast on her website today.  It was very eye opening.  You can listen to it at https:suzeorman.com.  Just look for the most recent podcast with today's date.  She talks about all of the fast food that she ate, and how she wishes that she had made healthier dietary choices and had done yoga.  Those habits really do make a difference, and the effect is cumulative, like saving money. I hope you are all in good heath and high spirits.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Antique Lamps

Today I fell in love with a stunning 1920's lamp at our local vintage shop here in Wrightwood.  I am going home to get some blankets to wrap it in, and will pick it up this afternoon.  I don't have space right now on my mini ipad  to take a photo. Once I delete some of the current ones, I will take a picture and post it here.  

Antique lamps add so much art and beauty to a home.  This one is hand painted with feminine pink flowers.  It's large, and looks brand new.  My mom used to have some gorgeous lamps like these in our home on Edinburgh Street.  I felt like she was whispering in my ear to go stop inside the shop  and see them.  They are rare and spectacular!

I also bought an antique  manual coffee grinder in case we lose power again, and replaced the smoke detector/carbon monoxide alarms.  It's important to keep all of those things up to date.  My old ones were chirping, and the batteries in storage didn't work when I replaced them.  These will last for ten years.  Fire safety is so critical.

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Saturday, November 28, 2020

No Power On Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving  our power was shut off from 1:00 p.m.  until 3:00 p.m. the following day.  Fortunately, my neighbor had warned me the previous afternoon that the power company was concerned about high winds and fire danger.  She suspected we might lose power.   So, I made all of the side dishes a day early.  She had her whole meal finished, including the turkey.  I put my stuffed chicken in the oven at 9:00 a.m. and it was fully cooked by 11:00 a.m.  I ate at noon.  

Thank goodness my neighbor had seen the notice on our local radio station's website. The power company sent me a warning call  at 12:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.   Many families were right in the middle of their preparations.  I feel so badly for them.  The expense, the time, energy, and excitement had really built.  (Especially during Covid-19.)  What a shame for all of those people who lost their food.

I drove to the gas station to buy more candles at 5:00 p.m.  I tripped in the dark kitchen when I got home, and broke half of them.  It was hard to sweep up the glass with just a small flashlight.   I had a hurricane lamp, but the oil must have evaporated since the last time I used it.  It flickered enough for me to take a bath, and then the flame died.  I thought I had some extra lamp oil in the cupboard, but I don't.

I ended up going to bed at 7:00 p.m.  because it was so dark.  There was nothing else to do.  You couldn't use your computer or Kindle.  It's hard to read at this age by candlelight.

The next morning, I packed up my freezer contents and Thanksgiving feast, and brought everything up to the cabin.  I had phoned my neighbor to make sure there was power up here.  I carried all of my perishables in cloth shopping bags and unloaded them into the fridge once I arrived.  I was so grateful to have a place to go, and a working fridge and freezer.

The first thing I did was to make a pot of coffee.  I had forgotten to replenish my emergency coffee supply at the cottage.  I used to keep a tin of ground coffee in the freezer for that very reason.  Without electricity, I couldn't use the coffee grinder or plug in my one cup coffee maker.  I need to leave my French press there.  I had relocated it to the cabin, because I love the flavor that it gives the coffee.  It reminds me of when I was working in Paris.  

Some people on our street had their generators running.  They are expensive and complicated to install.  I plan to buy more lamp oil, a lantern, several of those religious candles, and a huge flashlight.  My emergency radio/flashlight didn't work, because it is solar.  Live and learn.  We were very fortunate.  

All's well that ends well, as my dad used to say.  Have you ever experienced a power outage?  Were you prepared?   

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Would You Bake A Pie For One Person?


 

I met up with my neighbor this afternoon, and we were discussing what we were baking and preparing for Thanksgiving.  She enthusiastically told me that she was making her pumpkin pie with a butter pie crust, eggs, and whipped cream.  She looked so happy and excited that it made me go home and do the same thing. 

I used to make pumpkin pie for my mom, my brother, and I, when I was growing up.  Just a few of us in the family liked it.  I would make a fruit pie for everyone else, too.  (usually apple or berry.)  My mother was always so appreciative when I made them, telling me that my homemade crust was much better that the store bought pies.  It does make a difference.  So does the freshness.  She'd have me bake the pies the  day before Thanksgiving, , then on Thanksgiving morning, we would cook all day together.  My dad always helped.  ( and he did the shopping and dishes.)  We started early, chopping onions and celery for the stuffing.

I  baked an apple crisp yesterday, but decided to go ahead and make a pumpkin pie today, too.  Why not?  I had the ingredients. I whipped together the eggs, sugar, spices, pumpkin, and canned milk.  It brought back memories of making this dessert for so many years for my family.  I rolled out the homemade crust, and placed it in a beautiful hand painted pie dish from Poland that used to belong to my mom.  


 After placing the pie dish on the rack, I carefully poured the pumpkin mixture into the shell.  Ever so slowly, I inched the wire rack back into position, closed the door,  and let the pie bake for one hour.  I wish my mom was here to have a slice.  As I carefully removed it from the oven, I told her to help herself, if she was listening.  You never know, she might be around...  "It looks so pretty," I felt like she whispered back to me.  The filling had come together, and the top was lightly browned.  When you come in the front door the cottage smells buttery and delightful.

I'll enjoy it tomorrow, after the stuffed chicken with all the trimmings.  All of the side dishes are already made.  I may give some pie to some of the kids in the neighborhood, if they want it.  I will ask a couple of the women who live on my street.  It will last in the fridge.  How is your cooking going?

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Friday, November 20, 2020

A Bike Ride Along the Beach in Santa Monica


Yesterday morning after breakfast I packed up my backpack with some tortilla chips, a large  bottle of water, and a few pieces of Ghiradelli peppermint bark.  I followed Lula to  the car, (she couldn't wait to go on an adventure!) lifted my bicycle onto the bike rack, and drove down the uncrowded  405 freeway to Santa Monica.  

I parked carefully at the mall, and made a note on my ticket of my parking spot, the floor, and the color of the bulding.  Lula and I rode on the Colorado Street bike path to the pier.  She galloped along beside me as we both gazed at the ocean.  I loved her excited reaction.  The beach is so vast and expansive.  There were other people out walking and running, too, leaving plenty of space for everyone to socially distance.  Many of us were wearing masks.  The other dogs were well behaved and on leashes.  It was calm and peaceful. 


We stopped after turning around, and sat on an empty bench.  I gave Lula a bowl of water, and one of her dog biscuits.  I quietly munched on the chips, and watched the other passers by and their dogs.  Everyone seemed comfortable and relaxed.  The weather was sunny and warm, in the 70's.  It's heavenly here this time of year.  It is a pleasure to drive the thirty miles to the beach.  I didn't take advantage of it for decades when I was busy with my work.  Now I relish the time and the scenery. 

We may be under lockdown again soon, so I wanted to take advantage of a short day trip while we could.  I drove home down San Vicente, passed through picturesque Brentwood, turned right on Wilshire,  and merged back onto the freeway, this time heading North.  There was very little traffic-one positive aspect of the pandemic.

I sang along to Christmas carols on the way home.  I love Holiday music.  Once home, Lula slept like a log for several hours.  I think the beach run exhausted her, but in a healthy way.  Where do you go to get your outdoor exercise?     

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Shopping at Cost Plus World Market Felt Like a Trip to Europe!

 Today I was researching prices for a Mamamango, an Italian moscato that I adore.  Cost Plus World Market came up on the search, and it showed an excellent price.  I decided to drive over there and see what they had.  I hadn't visited the store in nearly twenty years.  The last time I went I was with my parents.  I got my first loveseat for the cottage there.  It was so soft and comfortable.   

Boy was I in for a treat!  They had all kinds of Christmas goodies on display.  I bought a tin of award winning Swedish gingersnap cookies.  They are called Peppar Kakor.  They definitely deserve that award!  I had a few earlier this evening, (well, actually I had more than a few, but they are small wafers...)and they are addictive.   

I browsed through all of the gourmet foods; it brought back so many memories of when I was living in Europe as a professional dancer.   I splurged on a bag of Lavazza espresso, a bottle Torani vanilla syrup, and  several bottles of moscato in different flavors: mango, cranberry, and cherry.  The prices were better than I found at Target.  I really am turning into my mother.  I never thought I'd be one of those women with a shopping cart full of wine.  I also was given 15% off for joining their membership club, which was my excuse.

I plan to return and buy my Christmas gifts there.  It was so much fun to read the labels from all of the different countries where my friends and I toured together.  They had German cider and Christmas glog.  I got such a kick out of reading all of the festive labels.  One lady was trying to find something for a woman who she described as "a real snob."  I chuckled.    

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Enjoying Free Movies on Youtube

I have been happily watching documentaries and movies at home, since the virus hit.  (I never used to be a movie buff.)  I don't care for car chases or violence.  Last night I watched Hello Dolly, and absolutely loved it.  I was heart warming for me, because  both Tommy Tune and Michael Crawford became stars after filming it.  They each helped my career as a performer tremendously, giving me opportunities to break out of the chorus.  I just love seeing their early work.  How fortunate it  was to cross paths with them in my career.  They both were exciting, energetic, and outstanding in the film.

Yesterday I took a long walk with my neighbor.  Lula joined us.  The weather was spectacular!  It is so pretty up in the mountains with the sun is shining.  We meandered down the narrow streets returned along the Wrightwood Trail.  Our walk took an hour and a half.  I really enjoy living in such a walkable town.  It saves  so much money on gas, and it feels healthy to get out in the mountain air each day.

I just watched a fascinating documentary called The Hearst and Davies Affair.  Once it is safe to travel again, I want to visit Hearst Castle.  I am going to research the trip online.  It's a few hours drive from the cottage.  Cambria is supposed to be a gorgeous area.  I love that whole era: the glamour, furniture, clothing, and architecture... 

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

I Hope I'm Not Turning Into a Wino

 When I visited Catalina Island for my birthday, I enjoyed a glass  of  sweet, sparkling wine out on the verandah at the Wrigley Mansion.  There were a few other guests attending Happy Hour, as well.  We had wine, cheese, crackers, cold cuts and fruit.  I loved chatting with them and enjoying the stunning view of the water.  Travelers are such fun people.  

When I arrived home, I decided to buy a bottle of the same wine and recreate the experience.  It really does seem to bring out the flavors of my meal.  I just have a small amount, but do enjoy it by the crackling  fire each evening.

The only problem is, it is upsetting my evening yoga routine.  I think I will have to do that in the afternoon, instead.  It's pretty dark and cold at night, anyway.  Not the most ideal time to be stretching on the floor...   

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Norman Rockwell Documentary

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The 2002 VW Beetle Passed the Smog Test


Today I took my red VW Beetle in to be smogged.  I was a little nervous that it might not pass, since it is eighteen years old, but it did.  Phew!  I used the coupon that the company had sent me, which saved me $25.00.  The discount was excellent.  I think they mail them to repeat customers.  

I waited outside while they were doing the testing, so that I could social distance.  There were a few people in the office watching television and talking politics, which is the last thing that I want to do.  The men that work there were very nice.  I had called them before I left, so they let me pull into the garage before the other cars.  In the old days you made an appointment.  I guess people don't do that anymore.  I still like to check and see if they have time to work on my car, in case they're busy. 

They entered all of the information into the computer for me, and it was sent directly to the DMV.  I wrote out a check for $147.00, put a colorful stamp on it with a German Shepherd design, and mailed it at the post office.  No one was working there.  It was eerie.  The mail boxes still listed a 4:30 p.m. pickup time, though.

I arrived home and prepared a beef stew.  I dipped the small pieces of meat into flour, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and browned them in olive oil.  I used the cast iron pan that my mom and I used to cook with when I was a little girl.  Life is strange after your parents die.  After chopping up the onion, shallots, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes, I let them simmer together in my Le Creuset pot.  I added some parsley, oregano, rosemary, and sage from the garden.  

It was a hearty and delicious meal.  I had two helpings.  My friend Vicky told me last week, "I am my own husband."  I got a kick out of that line.  She learned it from her mother, after her father died.  When you live on your own, you need to still be disciplined with cooking, cleaning, and finances.  What are you cooking these days?

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Judge Judy interview on her Life and Career (2009)

Monday, November 9, 2020

Exhausted, But Thankful

 


This evening, as I was reading an article on my mini ipad, I nodded off and fell asleep.  I find that this is happening almost every night.  My dad and aunt were the same way, once they were in their fifties.  My brothers and I would laugh at them as they snored.  Now I understand.  The thing is, it's only 5:45 p.m.  I could easily climb under the down comforter and flannel sheets in bed!  It feels so late.  I love this time of year, but I get tired so early!  When I was in my thirties, I worried that it was depression, but then realized that it's a seasonal thing.  Once we turn the clocks back, and the days get shorter and colder, I have less energy.

How about you?  Are you feeling sleepy earlier now, too?  The long summer days are behind us.  I so enjoyed spending most of my mornings or afternoons at the lake.  I had always wanted to live somewhere where I could swim in a fresh body of water, someplace within walking distance of my home.  I found it at age 55.  Lucky me! 

Do you feel the need to hibernate at this time of year?

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Fixing Things At Home

 


 Today I am doing some small tasks that need doing before the rain and snow arrives.  The deck has completely dried, and it looks fabulous!  They used a brown  Australian stain for timber that has the sealant built into the mixture.  It's a relief to know that with the snow we are expecting this weekend, the deck is protected.  The weather stayed warm enough for the workers to complete it and the California sunshine helped, thank goodness!

I also applied a coat of water based clear semi gloss to the door that I had replaced at the cottage.  That's a relief to have done.  I had been putting it off; it really didn't take long.  Next I need to put a coat of sealer on my redwood fence.  It's been almost a year since I've done it.  I'll wait till the weather is warm again, and the wood is nice and dry.

I bought a pair of slippers for winter at TJ Maxx this morning.  My nightgown and pajamas are still in good shape from last year, so I don't need to replace them.  I splurged on some treats: snickerdoodle caramels, mint chocolate cookies, and peppermint bark.  It's fun to have something new for dessert.  

I stopped at Target and picked up some staples on sale.  There were very few people there, which was nice.  I bought some Greenies for Lula.  My mom used to give those to my dogs every Christmas, and they loved them.  She was such a shopper!  Lula gobbled hers down this morning.     

How are you doing?

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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Had Internet Connected Up At The Cabin


 

On Friday two of the workers from UIA came to the cabin hook up internet service for me.  They did a fantastic job.  They were on time, polite, enthusiastic, and efficient.  I love having people work at my home who are honest and dependable.  I was amazed at their climbing skills.

For the past year, I have been walking to the library and using their computer.  It is such a relief to have access from home now.  The cold weather is coming, and if the roads are filled with snow and ice, the librarians won't be able to  make it up the hill to get to work.  There were times last winter when I would trudge over there in my snow boots to find the door locked and closed.  Now I can just switch on my computer by the fireplace. 

Small details really do make our homes more comfortable.  Having  the wood stacked neatly by  the fireplace brings a feeling of security and warmth.  There is a vintage glass jar filled with matches, and several books and DVD's available for entertainment when we can't go outside...

This morning I will be raking leaves and adding them to my compost pile.  The roses are blooming again, and have been enjoying this mild weather. I will feed them some compost tea today.  The tangerines are starting to turn orange, now that the days are shorter and the temperatures at night have dropped.  

I harvested the persimmons last week; they are sweet and juicy.  For years that tree didn't produce.  I think last season's rain and the compost and mulch I applied gave it the energy and strength that it needed.   

How are things with you?  I hope you had a happy Halloween.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Having the Deck Stained

 Now that the trees have been trimmed, it is time to stain the deck.  I hired a crew to sand it down, stain it, and put on a sealant that will protect it during the snow.  They started prepping this afternoon.

I am excited to see how it looks, once the work is complete!  I love the brown color that we chose.  It feels good to be getting the home maintenance done  for the cold season.  

I have been sitting by the fire reading library books.  Last night I watched "A River Runs Through It,"  directed by Robert Redford.  What a magnificent film!  It made me want to visit Montana.  The scenery is gorgeous!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Had the DVD Player Repaired

 I have been living at the cabin for over a year now, and I finally had the DVD player in the sun room fixed.  I just couldn't get it working.  The man who came over to check it just changed a few cords in the back, and now it's good to go.  I am excited to watch a movie while sitting on the couch tonight.  It's going to be so comfortable!  I had been watching films up in the bedroom until now.  I am going to remove that t.v. and replace it with an antique lamp. 

I am reading one of Peter Walsh's books on decluttering, and it is really inspiring me.  He used to be one of my favorite guests on the  Oprah Winfrey show.  Each day I have been going through the seller's old belongings,  soring, cleaning, and boxing up and donating what I don't need or use.  The cabin feels entirely different now.  It's amazing how much larger a home feels when there is more space.  

The older I get, the less material possessions I want.  I do love comfortable furniture and gorgeous antique lamps.  I'm finding it easier to clean now, as well.  I am happy with my library books, yoga, nature walks, bike rides, and chats on the phone with friends.  

I met with my neighbor at the country club yesterday.  We sat by the lake, enjoyed a glass of wine, and had an amusing conversation.  I brought a real wine glass and some almonds.  It's a peaceful place to social distance and socialize.  There were only four people there.  

How are you doing?

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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Ninety Trees Trimmed

Over the last few days I had ninety trees trimmed on my land.  Phew!  It looks so clean and beautiful now.  It's amazing how alive the property feels with all of that dead wood removed.  I stayed home and kept an eye on the workers.  It was exciting to see the men complete the contract.  They are very dedicated.

One of the pluses from all that trimming is  that I now have lots of firewood to burn this winter.  They stacked it neatly in piles for me.  I have been carrying it up to the cabin and  gazing at the  crackling flames each morning and evening.  I hung my mom's feminine lace curtains in the window next to the brick fireplace.  Flanked by a 1920's hand painted antique lamp, it is a really artistic look.  I just love the old styles.  I've never gotten into the modern decor that is popular now.  

The smaller branches were put into the chipper and spread as mulch.  The supervisor told me that my trees are healthier and greener than  many of the ones that they do, because I water and mulch them regularly.  It means extra time and effort, but is so worth it.  As I water in sections, I keep an eye on my trees and all that is happening.  That's important when you own land. 

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Paying Bills and Doing Chores

Today I cleaned up the front garden.  I pruned the roses, pulled out the dead, brown leaves on the purple irises, removed the dried sunflowers, and cut off the dead wood from the Meyer Lemon tree.  

Those little activities make such a difference in the garden.  I plan to trim off the brittle aloe vera stems and compost it all this afternoon.  I've been needing more browns for my pile, and now is the time!  The leaves are starting to fall, and they make an excellent nutritious mulch for the fruit trees.  

I paid my home insurance, a few utility bills, and carefully checked my most recent brokerage account statement.  I'm very happy how my dividend paying stocks have been performing.  They have been consistent and reliable.  What's happening with you?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Magical Getaway To Catalina, California

I just returned from a lovely holiday at the Wrigley Mansion.  It sits on the gorgeous island of Catalena, California.  The inn has been renamed Mt. Ada.  The classy historical charm of this comfortable bed and breakfast makes it a memorable treat. 



At 6:00 a.m. I dropped Lula off at the dog camp.  It was still dark outside.  I returned home, loaded up the car, and headed down the 405 freeway towards Long Beach.  Since  the virus hit, the traffic in Los Angeles has  been greatly reduced.  I arrived quickly and easily.  I found a spot in the long term parking lot, wrote down my space number on my ticket, and headed towards the lobby of the Catalena Express.  That's where you check in for the ferry ride.  You need reservations in advance.  They were fully booked.

Over the summer I had signed up for a special deal to celebrate my birthday.  They were offering  50% off the second night of your stay.  I had always wanted to visit Catalena and Avalon, so this was my golden opportunity.  I figured that I could drive there alone, maintain social distance and wear a mask on the ferry, and then sit outside on the terrace for meals.  We were situated above all of the congestion.  They only have six rooms at the hotel, and I met five other guests while I was there.  

The arrangement worked out beautifully.  Driving up to the hotel, my first glimpse of the mansion  took my breath away; it is so impressive!  The large, white electric gate swung open as we pulled through the driveway.  After enjoying a delicious lunch overlooking the water, I drove a high end golf cart, (which they provided,) down the steep, winding, narrow road through town and did some sightseeing.  The little shops and restaurants really still have the feel of old California.  There are no chain stores or fast food joints.  It's an enchanting getaway.  I can't wait to return.

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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Dog Day at the Country Club


 Today was Dog Day at the country club.  Lula and I had a fantastic time.  It was so entertaining to watch all of the different dogs playing and swimming happily together in the lake.  It was really dog heaven.  There were tennis balls everywhere.  Lula was so excited and vocal.  She paddled like her life depended on it.  I was in the water with her until one of the dogs squatted and pooped.  I had made sure that Lula did her business before we got there.  They are draining the lake for the cold season after Dog Day, anyway.  Maybe I'll put a swimming hole in, up at my cabin.  Lula is such a water dog.  She didn't want to stop playing ball, and slept deeply during her long nap, after we arrived home.

While watering my pines and oaks, I chatted with my sweet neighbor about posting "No Trespassing" signs.  I put them at each entrance to my land when the evacuation warning hit.  I discussed some concerns with my insurance agent and he replied that the signs  do help.  The main thing is, you don't want a hazard, like a broken sprinkler on your property.  He said that the best thing you can do to prevent problems with suspicious individuals is to maintain the property.  That makes sense.

My neighbor mentioned  that she had seen some adults and kids walking on my land.  There have been some locals I know that have sneaked on it at times, too, but I caught them.  ( I have photographs.)  It's too bad that some people take advantage, but I'm prepared.  I don't let things slide when it comes to my safety, my home, or my animals.  It's so important to take the steps you need to take in life when your boundaries aren't being respected.  Documentation is everything.  My sweet neighbor is also a hard working woman who owns her own beautiful home.  She lives with her mom, who is one fabulous lady.  We stick together; she's really a great ally.   

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Monday, September 28, 2020

What I Learned From The Evacuation Warning


 Today I decided to write about what it was like to experience an evacuation warning during a severe  fire.  The Bobcat Fire came dangerously close to our lovely village of Wrightwood.  I talked with several of my friends and neighbors there, and listened to their opinions and stories.  Many of them stayed in town, and other families left.  They all had their own personal reasons and logic. 

I drove back and forth a few different times, depending on what I read online about the road, fire, and weather conditions.  I packed up more stuff than I ever have during a fire.  What was important to me was to have my pets, my hand knit items, a few favorite pieces of clothing, and food and water.  It was a relief to rescue all of the sweaters, shawls, socks, gloves, and scarves that I have made over the last several years.  My photos are saved online. 

I thought that I would want to take my dad's car, since it is a newer model, and gets excellent mileage.  I ended up feeling more attached to  my mom's 2002 VW Beetle.  It has so much style!  It also has sentimental value to me.  She kept it so clean and organized.  She had everything in that car you could ever need: two flashlights, a siren, a red leather coin purse with quarters for tolls, a tiny first aid kit, mints, tissues, stain wipes, and a dog carrier.  She was extremely prepared and beautifully organized.  That car makes me smile.

I realized that I should have packed more pet food than I had anticipated.  I had tupperware jugs full of water by the door.  I wasn't sure how much traffic there would be.  I left early, and there really wasn't any.  It's nice to be able to go to a comfortable second location only sixty miles from your residence.  I am so glad that I kept the cottage.  I have been busy cleaning it today.  I fed some of the citrus trees homemade compost, and did a load of laundry.

The first time I fled I forgot my must have documents.  I was so upset with myself.  We were closing on my parents' house and a piece of land that I had purchased.  I brought that paperwork, and accidentally  left my box that contained everything else.  Fortunately, I retrieved it on one of my return trips to the cabin.  It feels good to have all of those records together and organized.  I keep mine in a fire proof box.  

Have you ever had to evacuate?  

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Daily Discipline During the Pandemic


Today I finished some last minute changes on an article that I'm writing for Peter Glebo and Tommy Tune in New York.  It was quick and easy to add the edits.  I scrutinized their notes on my mini ipad, and carefully typed them in on my desktop.  At this point, it's out of my hands.  I didn't even go back and read the entire article again.  I knew that if I did, I would want to add more shaping and cutting, and they are happy with it the way it is.  I didn't want to disrupt that flow.  I just focused on the list of corrections and additions that they had sent, then read each paragraph that I had rewritten  to check for rhythm and accuracy.  I skipped the stanzas that had already been shaped and formed over many recent hours  and weeks, hit send, and  let it all go.

Glebo and Tune will choose and design the layout,  photos and artwork.  I have a feeling that it is going to be amazing!  I am so excited to see  the finished product.  I told them to work their magic.  One of the thrilling things about theater is that everybody's talent is thrown together in a big pot, and it collect and magnifies into something rich, unexpected  and wonderful. 

I have been holding to the daily discipline of eating well, cooking at home, walking Lula, doing yoga and meditation, and keeping things clean, neat and tidy.  I also stay on a consistent watering schedule with the garden.  The oak trees seem so much happier and stronger now that they are getting irrigated.  I think they were struggling in the heat. 

How is your daily discipline?  

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bobcat Fire Is 50% Contained

 Today we learned that the Bobcat Fire is 50% contained.  They are using water from Jackson Lake to fight it.  I raked up several more bags of pine needles this morning.  I took a swim in the lake at the country club, and it was so refreshing!  I didn't expect for them to be open, but they were.  I wish the fire fighters continued success, and am so thankful to them for all of their labor and sweat.  They work so hard!    

Monday, September 21, 2020

Protecting Your Money As a Senior

 Since my dad died, I have noticed that I have to be very careful with people who work as bankers, attorneys, brokers, and in real estate.  It's so important when you are settling an estate that you make careful notes, know how much money you are transferring into your accounts, and that you are aware of what you are doing.

 My mother let my father handle all of the finances.  She liked to spend money, but she knew nothing about their investments, how their stocks were doing, or what their net worth was.  Her VW Beetle  wasn't even in her name.  I once saw a Suze Orman show about how important it is for women to have their own money, a savings account in their name, etc.  but she wasn't interested.  She let my dad handle everything.   

Women like this can be targets for scams, hidden fees, poor investments, and lies.  It's so important to read up on the areas that are new to you.  I study articles on  investing at Yahoo Finance.  My father recommended the website  to me, and it's an excellent resource.  

You can negotiate what you want.  Closing a cash sale on land should be cheaper than one that requires a loan.  You can make an offer that's affordable to you, and not go any further if what they want seems too expensive.  Maybe the seller will pay the closing costs.  It doesn't hurt to ask.

Today one of the managers at my credit union tried to talk me into keeping more money there than I had planned.  I had done extensive research on how much the FDIC insures, and had made plans to put some of the money from a home sale in a separate account at a different bank.  She tried to tell me that it didn't matter, since I had beneficiaries.  She and the woman working there made three attempts to keep my money at their institution.  It was shocking.  "This is not her decision," I told the teller.  I got my cashier's checks, but I had to stand my ground and insist.  They acted like it was theirs.  People in those fields can get very possessive with cash.   

We have to be very careful right now and steer clear of people who take advantage of seniors, women, or others  that they see as unsuspecting.  Forewarned is forearmed.  I see so many older women hire people to invest their money for them.  It can all be lost so quickly.  I manage my own funds, and check them daily.  It's not hard.  How about you?  

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

They're Fighting The Bobcat Fire From the Air

 


One of our locals just posted some impressive video footage of the Super Scoopers being used over our picturesque little  village of Wrightwood, California.  The sleek, sophisticated jets are from Quebec.  They are filling them up at Lancaster Lake.  It's a relief to see and hear them  approaching this fire from the air.  Yesterday there was too much smoke.  It has grown so rapidly.  I could see it approaching over the last week down below from the Pearblossom Highway.  It was obviously headed toward us.  At least we were fortunate enough to have time to prepare.  With some disasters, you don't see or hear them what's coming. 

My neighbor told me that the last time they were evacuated for a fire, it took her seven and a half hours just to get to Lancaster!  It must have been really exhausting and frightening, especially in all of that traffic, and in this summer heat.  I make sure to travel when it's cool.  The hot weather is so hard on your car.  It also is draining and stressful for your animals, your children, and for you!

There was an article that was in the paper about the fire yesterday.  It was eerie to look at the photos and see how beautiful the trees look.  The sky is orange, like a theatrical backdrop.  It reminded me of the old footage of the San Francisco earthquake, and the fires that followed.  Fire is so dramatic. 

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Bobcat Fire, Evacuations and Mountain Lions

The Bobcat Fire has spread at an alarming rate.  I  have been watching it from the Pearblossom Highway on my commute over the past week, and was shocked this morning to see that it looked twice as close to Wrightwood.  Devil's Punchbowl, (which is very close,) has been evacuated.  I hope that the people there get out safely.  I worry that the Wrightwood residents will wait too long and be fumbling in the dark with no electricity.  It's very dark now with the shorter days this time of year.  The mountain roads are only two lanes.

One local posted a videotape of a huge mountain lion in her driveway.  It went after her dog, but she and her husband yelled at it, and were able to protect the canine.   They have children.  It's strange to see the figures of these powerful wild animals on camera, right next to an outside  staircase or deck.   They are also fleeing the fires, and are hungry, thirsty and desperate.  It's like the movie Bambi.  A cub or two was also seen with the mother.  

Another post stated that someone's dog, the size of a German shepherd, was taken by a cougar from the balcony.  People have the illusion that their dogs are safe there.  Mountain lions normally eat deer.  They can easily take down large animals or humans.  I don't think people realize the danger of the situation.

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fleeing The Fires in California

As most of you know, there are numerous wildfires raging right now in California.  It is a challenge to decide whether to leave or stay put when the areas near your home are burning.  What we didn't anticipate was how many different fires there would be.  They have multiplied at an alarming rate. 

The reason I bought the cabin up in the mountains was to have a refuge someplace cooler to go in the brutally hot summers.  I wanted a location that wasn't so fire prone.  I had noticed that they were accelerating each year in Canyon Country.  Last year the Tick Fire was just a block from my cottage.  It made me nervous.  What if you couldn't get out in time?  I had images of people perishing in their cars in 2011.  We saw that happen in the tragic Paradise Fire, and now it is occurring once again.  

There is currently a fire about thirty miles from our beautiful village of Wrightwood.  It has been spreading rapidly.  I know how quickly the flames can travel.  It makes me afraid to go to sleep at night.  We only have one gas station in town, and there were ten people lined up to use the four pumps early this afternoon.  I got in needing half a tank when there was only one other man there.  It's important to have cash, too. 

I talk regularly with my friends and neighbors, and keep the car loaded up, ready to go at a moment's notice.  Fortunately, Lula and Snow White, (my chicken,) are experienced travelers.  They both enjoy car rides.  

My personal strategy is to leave early.  I don't wait to be evacuated.  Being caught in pandemonium would make me nervous and worried.  I would rather be safe than sorry.  Nothing would frighten me more than to be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic during a fast moving fire.  It's important to keep your gas tank full, your car in good repair, and to have plenty of clothing, food and water.    

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Adjusting To Pandemic Life



I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine in New York the other day, and he told me that he actually kind of enjoys wearing his mask now.  I have gotten used to it, too.  It's become part of the daily routine.  I washed a few of them yesterday in the  machine with a load of laundry.  They dried quickly out  in the sunshine, on the clothesline.

I have been having trouble with my hot water heater lately.  It's only five years old, but the water has been cold.  I saw that the pilot light was out, and was able to relight it.  At first it was unsuccessful, but then I heard the "whoosh!"  I took a hot bath today for the first time in ages.  It was such a treat.  I added some epsom salts and used a bar of my homemade soap.  I had a bad batch of soap that I screwed up over a year ago experimenting with hot processed salt soaps.  Anyway, it is now the most lovely, mild soap that I have ever used!  I'm so glad that I didn't throw it away!  The bars look crumbly, but they work, and their lather is superb!    


I painted my fingernails this afternoon, for the first time in ages.  I picked up a couple of bottles of pretty rose colored nail polish at the drug store this afternoon.  Next I will do a pedicure.  My friend and I were saying how our grooming has kind of gone by the wayside since the virus hit.  I never wear make-up anymore.  It feels nice to have a new haircut and my nails done, though.  The little things do make a difference.

I finished up the leftover turkey tacos, and plan to make a batch of chicken fajitas with guacamole tomorrow.  I find that eating delicious, homemade meals  really cheers me up.  Chicken breasts were marked down to 1.00 a pound at Vons today!  I was thrilled.  I have just been buying what's on sale, grocery wise, and it's working out very well.  

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Going Through Your Parents' Things

I have those angel candles above my fireplace now.  Her sleigh bells now hang on my door.


My parents' house sold and we have closed.  This is the ending of an era.  I took photos of all of the rooms after my mom died.  I wanted to remember how it looked with her magic touch.  She had such a talent for decorating and the home. 

My brother got rid of all the antiques and staged the house.  It sold very quickly.  It looks completely different now- very modern.  I wish I could have taken some of the furniture, but I wasn't able to have it moved in the deep snow.  He was in a big hurry and wouldn't wait.

I did take bring home that little pink wreath.   It's hanging  on the front door of my cottage.  It's so soft and sweet.  I put many of my mom's animal figurines in the garden up at the cabin.  They look so happy there.  She would love it.  I have the lace curtains, too.



I wrapped some of the mirrors in terry cloth towels, and hung them in my home.  They bring back so many memories.  I used to polish the antiques and wipe the glass clean  every week as a girl. 

I am so glad that I took photos of everything.  It's a good idea to document what your parents have while they are alive.  If there are any disagreements about the value of their possessions, you have proof.  It's also helpful to have in case of a break in or theft during a move.  

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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Drinking Less Coffee

For the past few days, I have cut my coffee consumption down from three cups a day to just two cups.  I do feel a difference.  Instead of reaching for another cup of java, I do an activity that I enjoy, like yoga, hiking, biking, or knitting. 

I lighten and sweeten  my French roast coffee with cream and sugar, so that means I am also cutting down on dairy and sweeteners.  I am reading an excellent book about aging and brain health.  It's pretty easy for me to eat well, but coffee was the one area where I was overdoing it.  Moderation seems to really help the body to do it's job.

My dad completely quit coffee the year that he died. He was eighty-eight.   I was amazed that he was able to stop his morning ritual cold turkey.  "It's just a habit," he told me, resigned.  His feet hurt, and his ankles were swelling.  He switched to drinking hot water each morning.  He was very disciplined that way; he had healthy eating habits, too. 

How much coffee or tea do you consume each day? 

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

First Haircut and a Bus Ride

vacation memories from last year
 
Our hair salons in California have opened, so I called the lady that cuts my hair and booked a slot.  She mentioned that she doesn't have much parking at her new location, so I decided to walk.  What a mistake.

It was very hot outside, and I was wearing a new pair of sandals.  I had forgotten how far her shop is from my cottage, and how long it takes to get there.  I used to ride my bike, but won't be doing that anymore.  The highway is too busy, and they are doing construction.  Blisters began to form on my feet, and they started to bleed.

It was all worth it, though.  I got in for my appointment, and I was the only one there.  She did a terrific job, as she always does.  I gave her twice the amount she charges, and she was very appreciative.  She has only been asking for $10.00 per haircut for the twenty years I have been going there.  I had a few inches taken off my red mane, and I feel like a new woman!

I decided to take the bus home.  What I didn't realize is that I would have to wait over an hour for the next one.  I didn't have the schedule with me.  I tried to be patient, and eventually it came.  It made me very grateful that I have a car.  Next time I'll use it.

There were only a few people on the bus, thank goodness.  Everyone was wearing a mask, and we sat far apart from each other.  It was a relief to get home.  I don't think I"ll be doing that again.  There was a man right after me at the shop.  The owner made him wait outside, which I really appreciated.  He was getting in her space and bumping elbows with her, acting like it was cute.  It really stresses me out when men like him don't take this virus seriously.  I sighed and went on with my day.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Taking Time To Relax During The Pandemic



The past few days I have really been enjoying some down time.  I have a tendency to push myself with my writing work, housekeeping and gardening.  I often forget to take a day of rest.  One day bleeds into the next, especially since the virus hit. 

Yesterday and today I relaxed on the couch, read a new book on my mom's Kindle, and sat outside in the sunshine with my chicken, Snow White.  She normally stays in her coop.  I decided to let her venture outside of it for a while. I sat carefully on the swing and watched over her.  She tentatively scratched the soil, ate some bugs, and walked around, gingerly.

Overhead I spotted a hawk and heard the telltale sound, "Caw!"   I scooped up Snow White and held her close to my chest.  She snuggled into me.  She's so sweet and appreciative.  I walked  back to the coop with her safely in my arms and locked her securely inside the French door.

Her previous owner told me that her sister, who was also a white Silkie, was killed by a hawk that got into their coop.  How traumatic.  I know those chickens remembered.  Snow White is the only one of the four still alive now.  Her sisters used to totally freak out if I ever left their door open; I could feel them panicking.  They reminded me of the chickens in the Foster Farms commercials.  Today she seemed more at ease with me there with her.  It's so much fun to watch chickens; they are very entertaining.

Have you been taking time to relax and recharge?

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Friday, August 28, 2020

A Lovely Hike



Yesterday Lula and I took a hike with a friend of mine on the Acorn Trail.  I had always wanted to try this path, but could never find the trail head.  It turns out it is right near where I suspected that it was, but when I was looking, they hadn't yet put in the trail marker.  There is a Catholic camp right across the street.  The land and scenery is just wonderful!

Lula had a terrific time; she was in her glory.  I had packed a backpack full of supplies, water, a lunch and some dog treats.  Lula crunched on her dog biscuits happily.  My friend and I sat on some enormous  chunks of logs that were turned on their sides.

The Acorn Trail meets the famous Pacific Crest Trail.  The next time I take it, I plant to hike up to that section.  I hear that there are also some beautiful wild big horn sheep up in that area.   I am looking forward to seeing them.

It's been hot here, so I need to get outside and water my garden.  The sunflowers are still in bloom.  I love how bright and cheerful they are.  I spent some time knitting a dishcloth on the porch this afternoon.  Lula and I took an evening  walk when it was cooler and I chatted with a couple of my neighbors.  It was fun to catch up with them. 

How are things in your area?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Cleaning Frenzy!

I have been cleaning the cottage all day.   I was really in the mood this morning, so I decided to get cracking!  This little place  really is the ideal retirement home.  It's easy to heat, cool and clean.  There's a lot to be said for small living.  

I picked up my vacuum from the repair shop.  I had dropped it off to be serviced and also had the cord replaced.  (It was fraying and sparking.)  It's a great little vacuum, though.  It's made by Shark.  I bought it fifteen years ago, on the recommendation of a lady that was helping me clean my house.  It's really light weight and picks up the dog hair beautifully!  I like the strong suction and the fact that it doesn't use bags. .

I vacuumed, dusted, mopped the floors, and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.  There are still some other small things that need doing, but this place feels like home again.  My mom was such an excellent housekeeper.  I always feel like I don't measure up to her standard, instead of just doing my best and making my environment as clean and neat as possible.  She told not to be like she was, that it would drive me crazy.  Now I see what she meant.  It does feel good once things are done, though.  I also did a load of laundry and hung it outside in the sunshine to dry.

I decided to stop at the new T. J. Maxx this morning.   Our old one had changed its location.  I wasn't quite sure where it was.  I drove around, and found the new store on Golden Valley. What a fabulous shopping center they have built there!  I was so impressed.   I picked up several things that I needed: a new pair of sandals made in Spain, a rose colored sun dress, some candles for the cabin, and a snake to clean my sink drains.  The prices were excellent!  I hadn't been shopping in months and months!  It was really fun, and there were very few people in the store.  Everything was so clean.

I browsed through the gourmet foods and coffee, admired some of the dog beds and towels, and searched for a bikini.  The one that I usually wear is getting stretched out:  I guess I will have to mend it and take a tuck in the waist.  The top still fits perfectly.  I'm going to wear a two piece while I still can, because I know that someday it will not be a pretty sight.  The swimsuit I bought last year is still in excellent condition.  It's very well made.  It will easily last another season.

How are things with you?

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Cosmos In Bloom



The magenta Cosmos that I planted are now blooming.  Each week I feed them compost tea, and they have developed a lovely bright color through absorbing the nutrients.  It makes such a difference to amend and mulch the soil.  Ours is very rocky up in Wrightwood, California. 

I planted a few packages of sunflower seeds, as well.  I am hoping that they will bloom before the weather changes.  They always add a bright spot in the garden.  I sprinkled the soil with compost.  It was covered with pine needles, so I raked those up and deposited them in  the green waste bin.

I am nearly done with the writing project that I've been working on; it's getting exciting.  I have really enjoyed applying the hand written notes from Tommy Tune.  Peter Glebo emails them to me.  I will post the link once the article is finished and published.  It's so rewarding to use your talents, especially during a pandemic.  It's so easy to work with them.  That makes all the difference.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Serenity of Oak Trees

my front yard

Today the workers from Southern California Edison came and removed my neighbor's two dead oak trees.  They had been decimated by a beetle that destroys them.  It spreads rapidly, so it was important to get both trees out of there.  They were near the power lines. 


Tomorrow the men will come back and finish removing the dead branches and wood.  The trees remaining look beautiful.  They  really are spectacular.  There are so many on my property up at the cabin.   I always dreamed of having a home with an oak tree, and look what I was given!  The owner told me that they waited for the right person to buy their property, and that I was the right person.  I am still in awe of the beauty there. 

Old trees are so wise and comforting.  You can't put a price on the spiritual energy that  they add to a home.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Health Insurance

The other day I received a letter from Covered California letting me know that I needed to submit proof of income to them for last year.  I stopped off at my accountant's office today and picked up the tax information that I needed to fax. 

I don't have a fax machine, so I used the service at our local hardware store.  It took a while for Covered California  to receive it, but eventually the pages were all transmitted.  That's a huge relief.  I receive a generous subsidy from our government for my health insurance.  It's important to stay on top of the paperwork in order to qualify.  I'm so glad it's all finished. 

I started watering the trees this afternoon, and stopped as the sky turned grey.  I put the hose away, and then it started to sprinkle.  I'm hoping for a dramatic storm.  So far it's just dark and impending.   

How has the weather been where you live? 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Mature Trees Need Water, Too



I learned the other day from our local arborist that mature pine and oak trees need to watered.  I had always assumed that if we had received adequate rainfall or snow, that their roots went deep enough into the ground to keep them healthy.

I asked him if a once a week watering schedule was sufficient.   "No, they need to be watered every other day," he answered.  Wow!  I had no idea.  I had noticed that the trees near my new woodland garden had been looking much healthier, happier and greener.  I thought it was the compost and mulch that I had applied.  The growth is now very vigorous on the oak leaves.  I soak that area every couple of days.  It makes sense.

The large trees near the lake look exceptionally beautiful;  same with those close to the beach in Ventura.  The dryness and lack of water makes in other locations them brittle, stressed and susceptible to disease and beetles.

So, I have a new hobby, forest bathing.  That's what the Japanese call spending time in the woods.  For now I am irrigating all of the trees on my land by hand.  Once I got into the new routine, my whole yard filled up with birds, butterflies and a sense of busy life.  The trees immediately responded.  I could feel their relief and gratitude.

Do you water your trees?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Paying Home Insurance



Today I paid my my home insurance premiums.  I took the envelopes to the post office, mailed them at the counter, and bought some more Forever stamps.  It's such a relief when the big bills are paid.  Property taxes will be due before we know it!

The arborist who trims my trees called me and we arranged to have some more work done.  Maintaining large oaks and pines is expensive, but it's so worth it.  I am excited to see the transformation completed.  It makes the whole energy in the yard so magical. 

Tomorrow I plan to amend my soil with some homemade compost.  I've been saving my fruit and vegetable scraps and depositing them deep into the compost pile each evening.  It's attracted an abundance of red wiggler worms.  They do an excellent job of turning the soil and improving it.

How are things going with you?

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Friday, August 7, 2020

Have You Been Moody During the Pandemic?

I am trying out the new Blogger but cannot figure out how to add photos or how to separate the paragraphs. How are the rest of you bloggers doing with this new version? I miss the old one.  I had to go back to it to fix this post.

Yesterday I felt down in the dumps, and had a hard time shaking it. I was frustrated with Lula on our walk, and she didn't understand why. I ran into another man with walking his large Border Collie off leash. I asked him to get his dog. It walked towards me,  away from the owner. I had my pepper spray in my hand, and a rod iron golf club, as well. I placed the club on the ground between the dog and I to create a boundary. "He's not going towards you, he's going towards your dog," the owner told me. He stood there, passively, watching. He made no attmpt to leash the dog.

With this virus, I definitely don't want any people or animals coming close to me or my dog.  The man finally put the dog on the leash, but it was an exasperating experience. I guess in these times we are going to have to learn to deal with oppositional people who refuse to follow any rules. I lost my temper and he told me where I could put my golf club.


After doing yoga, working on my latest article, and knitting outside, I felt like my old self again. It is a challenge these days to remain calm and unaffected. Taking a walk is not what it used to be. I may start staying closer to home. It's not worth the aggravation. Lula loves to fetch a ball, anyway. She's happy to lay on the porch or deck with me outside. I spent some time yesterday afternoon looking at my photos from my vacation in Europe. They make me so happy. It was so incredible there. I loved being on the ship and visiting the ports.   The people that I cruised with were wonderful.  Travelers love travelers...


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