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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Today

  I watched our dog, Poindexter, leave with Cindy Brinkmann to head to a new life. He seemed happy. I felt regret and now I miss him. 
  Pastor Murphy and Pastor came over to give me communion just in time. Thank heaven!
 Brandy DiNatale and I did battle with my lawyer as Carol fought my temporary onochologist for pain medication. 
  All in all a good day for battles. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Things about Terminal Illness

1.      I never have to go to work again.
2.      I will never set foot on a weight scale.
3.      I can eat anything I want but of course I don’t want anything.
4.      I can be crabby and everyone still loves me.
5.      I can be nice and everyone will cry.
6.      I never have to mow the lawn again.
7.      I will never wear a wig again.
8.      I’m done with doctors, insurance, and hospitals.
9.      My brother is super nice to me. Even though he would like to tackle me and eat a raw onion in my face like the old days.
10.  I get to tell everyone that I love them and why. Best Part.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reactions

“I think she knew for a long time.”
“That would be like her.”
“It’s a joke. She is going to say surprise and laugh.”
I didn’t know. I suspected I was really sick. I was leaning towards Crohn’s disease. My tummy was upset and I gained water weight but from feeling ill to actual diagnosis was only three weeks.
When I really knew was after my CAT Scan on Thursday April 10th.  The technicians were their usual cold and efficient selves. After the scan, the two—male and female—rushed to my side to help me. They oozed support and compassion. I knew then what the diagnosis would be cancer—terminal. That was confirmed on Friday by my oncologist. The surprise was the short time given. Neither, Mom or I expected that.
Many people are praying for me. I asked for prayers of comfort and for my family. Must have worked. My pain levels started dropping at 8:00 A.M. Sunday and continued decreasing with each prayer service in my connected churches. I could feel strength rushing through my body. It’s Monday and I feel relatively pain free.

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Terminal

Dear Readers:
To my word, this blog is about cancer, widowhood, and faith. Today (Friday), I met with my oncologist—a tiny-framed Asian. He walked in the exam room, hugged me, and said, “I’m so sorry.” This kind of reaction to a CAT Scan does not bode well for the patient. The gentleman was clearly upset. It took him about ten minutes to clearly define that I had inoperable liver cancer with a life expectancy of a few days up to one month.  Mom and I did our best to console him but he remained clearly upset by this outcome.
Since my first visit to my GP on Tuesday, the CAT Scan on Thursday, and today, I have not been surprised by any of this. I felt sick three weeks ago—having problems eating, losing stamina, and gain water weight up to a pound a day. My liver felt knotted. I checked the film on the scan—no knots. I have a liver that is polka-dotted with cancer spots. I will have a biopsy this coming Tuesday to confirm everything for insurance purposes. We are trying Anastrozole to slow down the process and give me a little extra time.
Mom’s birthday is April 30th. She would like me to cut the cake. How can I refuse such a sweet request?
I believe that Paul, my husband, misses me and has asked God to call me home. We were meant to go together but the funeral parlor refused to let me crawl into the cremation vault with my dear man. So 21st Century. I’m now forced down this path to get to heaven. I do believe in heaven.
When you get there, look for me I will be sitting under an oak tree discussing “Letters from Earth” with Mark Twain. I promised my friend Sue I would plant a few flowers to spruce up the place before she arrives.  Cindy B said it would be nice if I hugged Devon her Sainted first born. I am already getting a to-do list before lifting off. Exciting don’t you think?
I ask for prayers for my family and for comfort—to cut down the pain.

I will write as often and as long as I can because that’s what writers do. God bless you everyday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sacramento

  Today I'm sitting at Cypress Grille, a few feet from my new office looking at the walkway to K Street mall and Old Sacramento. I can see the irony through the dusty window. At age eighteen, I worked for Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest and her boss Governor Ronald Reagan at The State Capitol eight blocks from this spot. 
  I couldn't wait to get out of this town. I wanted to see the world, meet great thinkers, and fall in love. I was convinced that was not possible in Sacra-Tomato. If you ask a Sac citizen why they stay here the answer generally it is that Sacramento is close to everything and a good place to raise a family. But I didn't want to be close to everything. I wanted to be in the middle of everywhere and I wanted to raise Hell.
  My feet itched from birth--always looking for the road less traveled. The one person that could relate was my brother who made his exodus six months after me. For the next several decades, he and I would tromp across the globe--me in one hemisphere and he in the other. I don't think the world could have handled the two of us in the same coordinates. 
  God, all knowing all seeing, has a warped sense of humor. My dad told me the only way to go into the military was to become a nurse. I flat refused. I faint at the sight of needles and hospitals. So I became a military recruiter among other things. My brother suffered a different home life than I and swore he would never marry. He married late in life and became the most amazing husband, father and grandfather. I spent five years as nurse and caretaker of my husband. I watched him die. 
  I sit in my past trying to understand how and why--here? Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe in some way we always return to the beginning step through the end. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Comments Pending

I have been running this blog since July 2010. Blogger offered through Google was chosen for price—free—and ease of use. Unfortunately, the comments section never worked correctly. Of my 134 posts, I have received four comments. The “Join this Site” button stopped functioning after the first ten readers joined. When the new Blogger page came out, I thought I had a solution. I built a new blog page. My page look changed, added some AdSense buttons, new comments block, and Google+ circle. 2014 kicked off a clean and orange look. I liked it.
Yet, complaints from my local friends and family were the same. “Can’t leave comments.” “Tried to join but couldn’t.” The good news is that the Google+ circle grew and included people from places like Russia, China, and France—pretty exciting stuff. I did what I could and messed with the buttons on layouts. I also wrote strongly worded complaints to Blogger that were never acknowledged—the downside to free programs.
Today, I read reviews on free and paid blog sites. Squarespace.com was recommended at $16 per month, Wordpress.com at $18 per year, and of course Blogger.com and Weebly.com still lead in the free category. A little time and a bit of creativity could make a new site possible. BUT…will my Google+ followers find me? I have enough time to write the blog twice a week (the goal being daily). Do I have time to spend remarketing everything? Yes. Yes. This is a business question not a creative one.

Maybe it is time for http://post-scribe.blogspot.com/ to grow up and find a permanent home. I would ask for your comments but the button is broken… and the circle is complete. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcome!

Bienvenue!

歡迎

Welcome
 Thank you to the new readers of my post in France, China and England! I appreciate your interest as I do my American friends.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Income

Friend #1 has worked as a buyer at the same company for ten years. It was purchased by a huge conglomerate and the Hayward location is being closed completely by April 1st.  At age fifty, my friend was lucky. His former boss created an opening at a different business for my friend at three-quarters of his current pay.
Friend #2 looked for eleven months for a position, secured it, and was successfully building a book of business against a strong competitor. The competitor merged with her company. There are now too many sales people for the new arrangement. A forty year old mother of two is looking for work.
Another company was taken over by a national competitor. Friend #3 was promised continued job but it turns out the job is fifty miles from his house. Two of the office locations have shut down. It looks possible that the technical division he ran will be outsourced. He will be looking for a new career path at age fifty-eight.
This is 2014.
According to Forbes Magazine, “The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-for-millennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/.
NPR recently discussed the lack of motivation in the Millennium+ generation. Why do they need to be following the Puritanical work ethics? I grew up with my parents working hard to get ahead. My father and mother were better off than their parents as was I. I could build a better life.
The twenty year olds today cannot find work even after college. They watched as their parents purchased bad or illegal loans for their dream homes that were taken away. Many are homeless or in rentals. Companies close at an alarming rate. Downsizing is a business tool to stabilize expense. Job security does not exist in any field. Even government positions go away when a City goes bankrupt. Why in the world would you buy into—“go to college, get a good job and plan your retirement?” You are only going to be with your next job two to five years at best.
Our world is undergoing a monumental shift from an industrial age to information age. We are still educating our youth that they will hold positions that my parents held. We all know that it no longer exists but we want to believe that it is still possible. “Do you want fries with that? Or welcome to Wal-Mart,” seems to be a likely scenario for those of us hitting a shifting employment wall.  Many of us hide our higher education achievements because a bachelors or masters could force us out of the competition for a middle income job.
Friend #2 was promised a compensation package that will allow her to earn a six figure income. Once she finally met their top sales person—number one in world sales—he told her that he had never made more than $55,000 because the commission structure would change to limit his income. Now they both face job loss.
There are jobs out there. Many of which were created in this century. Spending money to be educated in a new field is an option only if you can recoup your costs within the four and a half years you will be employed there. The younger generation seems to be sitting on mom and dad’s couch waiting for the world to change. Meanwhile mom and dad have side businesses ranging from make-up, to jewelry, diet supplements, and online retailing, to make up for loss income and periods of unemployment.

The keynote speakers at three of college graduations I attended were—Steve Jobs, The Smothers Brothers, and a college student that founded Togo’s Sandwiches.  Not one of these people graduated from college. If success in our current society is outside of the mainstream, then why are we standing in the water?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Night

My renter picked “Wolf of Wall Street” as the evening’s fare. I had chose “Captain Phillips” the last time.  From the beginning of Leonardo DiCaprio’s rant on the joys of money, drugs and whores, my lodger was engrossed giggling like a schoolgirl when Leo snorted cocaine off of a naked woman’s butt. I waited a polite fifteen minutes before getting up and baking some pies in the kitchen.
“The language was pretty bad.”  Mark had popped into the kitchen to grab some apple cobbler before returning to the movie.
I almost laughed. He thought my objection to the film was the use of a four letter word. “Actually, I think it is lacking in any morals.”
“Oh, yeah. I guess it is.” He took the dessert bowl into the other room and continued watching. I made a cherry cheesecake for the Wednesday night Lent soup supper.
From the beginning of the film, the story depicts sales people as perverse liars that laugh at customers behind their backs and only take from individuals without giving anything back.
I have been in sales my whole adult life. This story line may be true for some but for the vast majority of sales people…we need a purpose. “Changing the world one person at a time.” Apple’s mission and purpose for their team.  AFLAC 2013 mission statement is—“…to provide the best insurance value for consumers.” AVON—“The company for women.” “Taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves.”—Kindred Healthcare.  Lockheed Martin—“We never forget who we are working for.”
The ugly money-grabber makes a popular film, although I wish that was not true. Those real people who get up every day and face the phone or door-to-door customers need a reason other than money to do what they do. Yes, most sales jobs make more money than administration or design. It’s because it’s a hard job, full of peaks and valleys and constant pressure to perform—a job few people want to do. Once the sale is done and the commission check cashed, real sales people service the account—from returns to collections to claims.
Over half our time is spent making the client happy. 

I am guessing the party for the “Wolf of Wall Street” ended in some tragic way. Frankly, Scarlett, I didn’t give a damn. I hear “Mr. Peabody” will be on Netflix in April. Can’t wait. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Troubles

Thank you, Louis C.K.  Posted on Comedy Central Standup http://www.cc.com/video-clips/s1c41g/stand-up-louis-ck--uncensored---white-people-problems. The comedian said, “...We have white people problems in America.  You know what that is? That is your life is amazing so you make shit up to be upset about. People in other countries have real problems. Like, “Oh shit their cutting off all of our heads today.”
There’s an old sermon I remember…
A minister takes his congregation on retreat. They are gathered during the afternoon around the cold rock circle that held the previous night’s bonfire. He placed a large basket in the center while helpers passed out 3x5 cards and pencils.
“I would like each of you to write down your troubles, your worries, and your problems on the card. Write down the burdens that you most want God to take away.”
A few of the members laughed. One shouted, “I need more cards.” More people laughed.
The pastor smiled and said, “Do the best you can with what you have.” He folded his hands in front of him and waited. Soon the forest became quiet with only the birds and squirrels to chatter in the trees. Eventually, his flock raised their faces from the cards and looked at him—an indication that they had completed their task.
“Now fold the card in half to conceal the contents and throw it into the basket. A few people handed their problems off to someone else to discard. Others carried their burdens on their own. At last, all the cards had been dropped in the basket.
“Heavenly Father,” he started to pray and lifted his hands toward the sky. “Bless everyone here today. We all have burdens. We have forgotten that how to handle the challenges in our lives. We demonstrate our love for you to others as we deal with our problems. Help us to pray for your guidance on this road called life. Amen.”  He put down his hands.
“Now I would like each of you to go to the basket and pull out a card. Whatever is written on that card will be your burden in life. Choose wisely.” He stepped away from the circle.
His congregation sat for a few moments. They talked amongst themselves. One or two asked for the instructions to be repeated, which the minister did. One stood, then another, soon the crowd rushed toward the basket. Each grabbed a card looked briefly as to the content or handwriting then cast it aside and went for another. Within a few minutes, everyone had found his or hers own card and clutched it tight within their hands.
When everyone had settled the teacher said, “It is not an unbearable burden if it is yours. You are not equipped to live someone else’s life. Ask God to help you through this moment in time.” The minister pulled the last card from the basket, lit it with a match and returned it to the container. “I give up my burdens to God.”
One by one his people threw away their problems into the smoke and prayed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Proximity


Imagine you are in sunrise commute traffic in a city of over one million people like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento. It’s grey, kind of foggy, and damp. Your silver car is in lane number three headed into town along with a quarter of the city’s population. You reach for your cup of coffee nestled in the cup holder then BAM! The silver van on your left slipped in front of you at the same time the bluish-grey compact on your right plowed into the shared lane. You have less than two seconds to hit the brakes and pray.
How many times have you seen this played out as near misses or actual collisions that include two, three, up to ten cars twisted in the worse commute day ever? I count on the experience daily and hope that I am aware enough to avoid any entanglement.
“I think every major city in America should only drive Google-cars—those computerized cars that drive themselves,” I said to my friend yesterday.
“I don’t. I don’t trust computers. They are always down.”
“Well, then, proximity sensors all the way around the cars. At least the people who are sober and awake could avoid collisions.”
“It would be too costly.”
“That was the same logic used against seat belts. Once they became mandatory…”
“We don’t need government in our lives telling businesses what to do. That’s why cars cost too much. Manufacturers were forced to put in seat belts and caused prices to go up.”
“But once they were in place, the prices dropped significantly, and lives were saved.”

A report from Freight 2013 stated that 40% of trucking accidents discussed were from types—rear ends, crossovers, and head-ons—that could have been avoided with sensors. According to http://www.drugabuse.gov/.  “…more than 16 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs. More than 11 percent tested positive for illicit drugs.” One in five surveyed American drivers admitted to drinking and driving. How many of us eat, drink coffee, text, yell at the kid in the back seat, or day dream while driving?
A whole lot of us are driving impaired, in a rush, and not paying attention.  You in lane two and you in lane four are out to get us in lane three. If my car can’t avoid the accident on its own, then, by golly, shouldn’t it at least warn me of impending doom?
My great grandfather drove a Ford Model A—14.9 Horsepower, top speed of 63 MPH, with a driving range of 20 to 40 miles. Two and a half generations later, I could drive a Ford Taurus—240 Horsepower, top speed of 200 MPH, with a driving range of 300 to 360 miles. I don’t know about yours, but my brain has not developed enough to make life-saving decisions three times faster than my ancestor for six times as long of period. I’m not that smart.

The human race can use a hand or a chip, in this case, to make our morning drive safer. If I can’t have my Google-limo, I want my proximity sensors. Please.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Momma

Friend #1 lost her beautiful mother to breast cancer triggered by a leaky silicon breast implant. Her mom was under forty and my friend about twenty. At age eight, friend #2 watched in agony as her momma physically abused the four daughters and drank her way to an early grave. Friend #3 visits parents who are drug addled and live hidden from the government in the middle of a desert. My cousins witnessed the Alzheimer’s disease erase the personality of their mother—a sweet and gentle parent—and yesterday it took her life.
What the survivors have in common is the open ache from the loss of momma. My octogenarian mother still bemoans the loss of daily conversations with her mom who died in 1962 at the age of fifty. Of my many friends and family who have outlived their parents, all speak of the emptiness that forms when that parent is gone.  It doesn’t seem to matter of if the parent-child relationship was cantankerous, loving, hateful, harmful, abusive, playful, miserable, wonderful, joyous, divine, or non-existent. Everyone misses something about that person and the special tie that is mother.
My much-younger husband buried both his parents and yet my parents remain healthy and active—Dad on a ranch in Missouri and Mom in a Californian townhouse. I love them both.
They drive me crazy—especially Mom whom I reach out and touch on a daily basis. It is said that the reason your mom can push all your buttons is because she installed them. No one can drive you around the bend quicker than the people that created you. Friend #1 loves to have me verbally trash my mom. She says it makes her feel as if her mom was still around bugging her. It is that extremely personal pat on the heart that we miss when the loved one is gone.
I don’t know how my cousins feel today as they plan the final services for their mother. I pray they get through the pain.
We have all suffered loss of someone. As we age, we know there will be more death. We need to find time to reach out to each other and share what made our momma special in our life. Even in the most negative of circumstances, a memory of joy exists that we can hold and share and fill up a bit of the emptiness.
God bless all.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Play Nice

After a year of failed attempts in marketing a room-for-rent, I decided to give it one more try. “Self,” I said. “when should you place an ad for a renter on Craigslist?” I have attempted many options before as well as ads in churches, senior centers, and www.roomateexpress.com. So I sat in my office and thunk. “Valentine’s Day! That’s it. A day when single people looking for a home would have nothing better to do than read a Craigslist classified.”
Sure thing, I received four emails the next day—a better response than the entire year. Two of the applicants looked suitable but this was the best.
Hello! My name is Molly. I am a twelve-year-old chocolate lab who is active and loves to play fetch. My master and I are looking for a room to rent. Please…
Of course Poindexter had to answer and then the two met. They had some discussions about doggie doors and cat chasing. I met Mark, Molly’s owner. After a few meetings, I rented the space to Molly and her owner. March 1st, they moved in.
Of all the changes in my life in the last three years, I think this is in the top one or two as the most difficult. I realized that I have had more conversations with my letter carrier than with a man that will sleep fifteen feet from my bedroom door, use my kitchen, and hang out on my couch. Please note I am using the possessive pronoun—my. It explains my mindset and misgivings.
Molly and Dex played nice when the potential renter stopped in but since the furniture has arrived, Dex has realized the permanence of the situation he growls and snaps his territorial lines. I am afraid I am doing the same. With the change in cable to include sports channels, addition of a daily newspaper, someone else’s stuff on the counter, beer in the refrigerator, the remote moved, and noise, I am nervous.
This man moved his life into my home and trusted we could get along well enough to make it an equitable relationship. I hoped for the same.
It must be that he is anxious also. That seems to be a fair assumption.
My buddy, Beca welcomed Paul and me into her home several years ago. She made us immediately feel like part of the family. We had so many happy memories in that home including a smashing forty-fifth birthday party for my man.

If I could make Mark feel just a bit of that greeting, I know we could have a good roommate arrangement for some time. Dex and I need to play nice with our new friends. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Swimming in Oatmeal

Eight days until Ash Wednesday. The Lenten season is forty-five days starting—this year—March 5th and ending on April 20th Easter Sunday. Every year, I give up something for Lent as part of my spiritual building exercises. I’m not sure if it improves my character but I do have a better understanding of my failures and therefore a pathway toward divine development.
Each year I pick something heinous to give up. The choice is not easy because, unlike New Year resolutions, the contract is not with myself but with my maker. I have successfully given up cigarettes, chocolate, coffee, soda, sugar, meat, impulse buying, television—most for Lent and cigarettes for good. Swearing was a failed choice. I tried. Really I did. I never made it more than five days without something slipping out of the mouth.
My marriage almost dissolved during the great coffee abstinence of 2010. Every morning, Paul begged me to give up my pledge which made me even more determined to stick with it. I had become a crone with attitude. Migraines blossomed during the day but I held my bitchy guns and made it to the end. No one was happier to see Easter than my husband. He made me swear to never do that again. Agreed.
So much has changed in my life and quickly, from loss of husband, health, job, to separation from friends and my Bay Area home. I feel like I am swimming in oatmeal. Yes. I am moving forward. The sensation is not unpleasant but this is not who I am. If there is anything I would give up, it would be the wet mush around me that slows down my progress. How in the world do I define that?
Perhaps if I choose not the negative but the positive and pray…
Lord, today
Help me taste the day
Help me witness beauty
Help me hear good reports
Help me touch someone
Help me believe you're here
Today, Lord.
 Dear Lord: I give up all that holds me down. Amen.
Okay if that doesn't work then I'll give up cookies. 

Dog Food Update

It’s been twenty days since my Poindexter has been eating the homemade dog food as his regular diet. He has not turned up his nose once at the meal. He still gets one bowl of dry food per day but I’ve cut back on snacks and table scraps. Dex is happy and active. Looks like we are done with canned food.
Here is the recipe again for those who did not see it.
Dog Food Casserole:
4 lbs ground turkey meat
1 lb canned Navy or Red Beans
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
2 cups cooked brown rice (which is 1 cup uncooked) *I used Wild Rice instead in my rice cooker.
1 cup cooked oatmeal *I used Trader Joe’s Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal with rye, barley, oats, and wheat. Microwaved one cup with 1¼ cups of water.
1 cup 2% fat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup nutritional yeast
 Cook rice and oatmeal then allow it to cool. Find a very big bowl. Mix all the ingredients together until blended. You will need two large baking or lasagna pans sprayed with oil. Spread the mixture into the pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 to 90 minutes. This is a basic meat loaf recipe and will cook about the same. Cool and cut into dog can portions. If you have a little dog you should get 36-48 squares (42 to 31 cents per serving). Poindexter’s size was about 12 squares ($1.42 per serving). Pop into plastic freezer bags and freeze.  I like to heat a portion in the microwave before serving.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Creeping Crud


“How can I help you?” The male voice squeaked into my cell phone.
“Sounds like you have a cold.”
“Yes, it’s been hanging on for over a week.”
“Nasty stuff. Have you tired hot toddies?”
Laughter. “Without the rum?”
“During the work week of course…I want to get an upgrade on my cable that includes a sports package.”
That was it. One phone conversation with one individual—I’m downing Emergen-C every two hours and slathering Vick’s Rub over my chest like Sheldon on Amy Farrah Fowler.  Perhaps it was the Facebook chat with Rick also curled up in a ball with the creeping crud. More likely, I succumbed to the one-hundred fifty church goers of whom were starting, getting over, or ending a three week misery of a cold. Kudos to the other two hundred members who did not have colds but were most likely carriers of the disease.
This is my third cold of the season. The first came from a crowded American Airlines flight from London to Dallas. The plane packed with hackers and coughers who lacked one single Kleenex between them. Next, came after Thanksgiving, an illness gained from Monday sales meetings with contagious co-workers. And now…when I need my strength and focus for my job and personal goals, I am sick. Timing is everything.
I have been told that the cold is God’s way of saying. “Slow down.” I not sure if I buy into that. Does that mean shepherds don’t get colds? Toll bridge workers? Inspector 12 who checks the quality of my pillow? Conversely, wouldn’t the President be sick all the time? What about Olympic hopefuls? There is some pressure and stress right?

I am in sales. I need to talk by Monday. Anyone, please shoot me an email, comment or FB post of the best sure-fire cure for this crud.  Thank you!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Internal


I want to be a writer.
Aren’t you published?
Well…yes.
Then are you a writer?
I want to be a full time writer.
Why aren’t you a full-time writer?
My husband died, then I got cancer, then I needed income…
Is that the reason?
Um.
What is the reason?
Well, I need to make money.
Don’t writers make money?
Yes, some but not much.
So how much money do you need to make?
Depends.
On what?
What I want to do.
Didn’t you say you wanted to be a full-time writer?
Yes, but…
But what?
I want to travel and get some new clothes and…
Didn’t you say you wanted to be a full-time writer?
Yes.
Isn’t that goal worth a sacrifice or two?
Yes, but I need to make some money now.
Don’t you have a job?
Yes.
Don’t you make money?
Yes, but…
Do you see a problem?
There is so little time.
Really?
Between work, the dog, church…
Didn’t you watch the entire season of House of Cards this weekend and last month, Game of Thrones seasons one, two and three?
Hey, I can relax once in a while.
Jeopardy? Nova? Downton Abbey?
Okay. Okay. I have time.
And the dedication?
Perhaps.
So what is stopping you?
Me.

Ah, therein lies the problem.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Easier to Find a Husband


Ten months, I have been advertising, networking, and praying for a renter. I’m not asking for a lot—someone intelligent, clean, honest, close to my age, that likes my dog, doesn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend spending the night, no kids spending the weekends, someone quiet, won’t destroy my house, that will pay the rent, doesn’t mind parking on the driveway, and I won’t kill after a month. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently, yes.
I’ve hired a roommate finder agency, posted ads at churches and senior centers. No luck. Most of the time, I read the room/share wanted ads on Craigslist.org.
The read is like this:
“…man in his late 40's looking for a place. I am neat and clean. I want no drama or bring any. I can do work for exchange for rent. I am honest, hard working, healthy, six-foot tall, looking for place…”
Picture two beautiful women with pouty smiles looking at the camera with the following caption, “We need to find a place ASAP, myself and my fifteen-year-old daughter…We are quiet, (you probably won’t know we’re there most of the time). I just need a safe environment …”
There are the traders—will do housework, yard work, or companionship. The 420 friendly grass smokers, cigarette smokers, and yes, 215 friendly pot growers, they do advertise. A couple who are or want to be foster parents for four rescue dogs while renting a home, “prefer tile floors for obvious reasons.” A young man looks for a place to crash for free for a few months. The sad ads: eighteen-year-old brother and sister leaving mom and dad to hang out and “get away from a hostile home.” “Single mom with three kids. Can’t afford motel. Need two rooms.”
I know that everyone needs a home and I pray everyone finds their match, but some of the ads were scary. One man wanted rent a room to bring his “young daughter” there once every two weeks or so. He would not live at the rental just show up with a young girl. I tried to make that into an innocent request but there has been too much on the news about abducted girls.
The suitable listings are rare and involve some kind of compromise. It is not like the college days where four of my friends made do in a two bedroom flat. It is interesting to be in the same situation at the autumn of my life as I was in the spring. My four bedroom home costs me money—taxes, utilities, and upkeep. With a renter, the house would be a self-sustaining asset.

I’ll keep looking for a renter or find Poindexter a job. Does anyone need a part-time squirrel chaser?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

NEITHER RAIN, SLEET, OR HAIL


It’s my fault really.  Three years ago, we got a shelter dog in December. It rained and rained and…not the best weather to potty train a twelve week old pup. At that time we had not renovated the yard. With the Sacramento hardpan and the incline to Elk Horn Boulevard behind the back fence, each inch of rain transmuted into three inches of standing water in the backyard.
Poindexter’s stubby Bassett legs raised his body an inch and a half to two inches at best. When he squatted in the yard all but his shoulders and head were above water. The cold puddles made his sad eyes weep. He would not go out alone. Trained by a foster home before he was released to the pound, he refused to do any of his business inside the house. Good dog.
To keep the little guy from exploding, I slipped on my housecoat and UGGs, tromped into the flooded yard, and stood vigil over my peeing-pooping pup. Every two hours. Every Day. Every night. Dex went on command in waters chin-level without a whimper. On particularly bad days, I let him pee into a pile of leaves I had arranged on one corner of the patio. That did not serve him for number two.
Eventually, it stopped raining. Dex got taller—not by much. He braved any weather on his own. I thought my rain duties had ended.

            I dare anyone to come up with a more pitiful looking mug than a Bassett mutt holding a mangled Frisbee and whining at the patio door. Yes. He will do his business in the rain but play? No. The sad face and ear-splitting whine continue until I don my raincoat and schlep out into the wet for a game of fetch. Dex will play until he drops as long as I am soaked too. As I stated earlier it is my fault. I trained him.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DOG FOOD


My Poindexter is a rescue dog.  Found on the streets at four weeks old, raised in a foster home and placed in the pound where my husband and I fell in love with the Bassett eyes. The county lock-up provided basic dry food for the animals. The foundlings gobbled it up gratefully until…
Paul, my husband a Saratoga native, believed the food should be nutritious and set about finding the best food for our mutt. We tried a wide variety of canned and dried foods, settling on two different brands. Unfortunately, the cost of the food eked up a bit every year. The bag of dried food now is a whooping $18 a bag and the canned $2.79 to $2.99 each.  On a widow’s budget that is extreme.
I haven’t helped matters by providing a lamb shank once a month or an occasional steak. To be fair, the lamb shank on sale comes in at $2.79 to $3.00 and does a great job of cleaning up the tooth plaque from his giant teeth.
To hold the household to a budget, I started with mixing Poindexter’s high end dry food with the cheap Kibble and Bits—half and half. He likes it better than the plain but cuts my costs by almost thirty percent. The meat and canned food he got at night killed the budget.
I snagged a recipe provided by a committee at my church. (Thank you Razzle Dazzle). It seemed doable and with some modifications I made the recipe for my fifty-pound hungry dog.  The Dog Food Casserole called for garlic cloves. Sorry but my vet and ASPCA has garlic on the toxic food list for canines.
I also left out peas because Dex hates them. You can give him soup, dog food, or pot roast. If he finds a pea, he spits it out, amazing for a creature that cleans his entire body with his tongue. I also left out wheat germ because I didn’t have any.

Poindexter showed up in the kitchen once the rice was done and I started mixing the turkey meat with the egg. He stood guard over the oven until I finally served him his meal. He has scarfed down the dog food each time and licked the bowl clean. He is a big fan.  
Here’s the modified recipe.
Dog Food Casserole:
4 lbs ground turkey meat
1 lb canned Navy or Red Beans
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
2 cups cooked brown rice (which is 1 cup uncooked) *I used Wild Rice instead in my rice cooker.
1 cup cooked oatmeal *I used Trader Joe’s Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal with rye, barley, oats, & wheat. Microwaved one cup with 1¼ cups of water.
1 cup 2% fat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup nutritional yeast

Cook rice and oatmeal then allow it to cool. Find a very big bowl. Mix all the ingredients together until blended. You will need two large baking or lasagna pans sprayed with oil. Spread the mixture into the pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 to 90 minutes. This is a basic meat loaf recipe and will cook about the same. Cool and cut into dog can portions. If you have a little dog you should get 36-48 squares (42 to 31 cents per serving). Poindexter’s size was about 12 squares ($1.42 per serving). Pop into plastic freezer bags and freeze.  I like to heat a portion in the microwave before serving.
BTW I took a bite. It is delicious. So if I end up being Old Mother Hubbard at least I will be eating quality dog food.
According to the ASPCA:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet
•           alcoholic beverages
•           avocado
•           chocolate (all forms)
•           coffee (all forms)
•           fatty foods
•           macadamia nuts
•           moldy or spoiled foods
•           onions, onion powder
•           raisins and grapes
•           salt
•           yeast dough
•           garlic

•           products sweetened with xylitol (04/06/2007)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NFL Super Bowl XLVIII


Super Bowl parties! They are fun—filled with family and friends. I attended the best one ever and I did not leave my home but I hung with all my favorite peeps. Dan and Angel cheered mightily for the Seahawks in their Seattle condo. Steve dished “Pey Pey” in Nashville.  Rick offered a spread of yummy game snacks in Citrus Heights. Suzanne, while sitting in her home in Nebraska, extolled the beauty of Renee Fleming’s rendition of our national anthem.
Between my smart phone email, text, and the iPad mini with Facebook, I kept in real-time contact with ten households from Lodi, California to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. If I had really stopped to analyze what I was doing I probably could have added in more friends and Skyped a few more.
We live in a fantastically unbelievable world these days. My family and friends are spread to the four corners of this big blue marble but are all accessible as if they lived next door. A few decades ago, I might have been at a party, picked up the phone, and called my brother. Everyone in the room would have shouted, “Hey.” That would have been it. Instead I got such gems as—“Bieber busted. Raiders not playing. My life is hell…got chili on tho…” Digital image pops up of half eaten chicken wings and strawberry shortcake.  Image of Peyton Manning on the phone asking if his mother would come pick him up. “One moment please, Seahawk HATERS!!! 29-0 just 12 seconds into the 3rd quarter. Could we have a moment of silence please?”
Witt and barbs flung back and forth through the cloud. The final gun, confetti, and then as if a party ended, they wandered through the cloud and back to their lives. I am struck but the simplicity of the electronic communication and the comfort of it all.
My great grandmother Flossie Mapes came across this country in a covered wagon. She communicated with those left behind in letters written in gorgeous script we now call calligraphy. It took hours to write anything of significance and weeks to get a reply. Images of loved ones were taken on tintype and pressed on paper. Some of them still exist in an antique family bible that my brother now owns.
Tomorrow morning my goddaughter will text me a message with a smiley face or a heart to start my Monday as she always does. I will feel close to her though she lives one hundred and twenty-nine miles away. My cousin Katie in Hawaii will post a selfie on Facebook depicting her weekend events. Sue Tornai, Sunrise Christian Writers, will post the events for February on our website. Many times I take this for granted though it is truly remarkable. The ability to touch someone anywhere at any time is a hallmark of this new century.

I hope you had fun at your Super Bowl party. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

GOD

I have managed to get myself into the uncomfortable position of having to explain my belief in a supreme being—God. Given that all but a small minority of Christians, despite the press releases, are not forthcoming on the subject. As verbose as I am perceived, I tend to be fairly quiet about God. Choosing to speak at length of the failings of Congress or the problem with highway patrolmen who text and drive, instead of any real discussion of something substantial like what I truly believe. 
My past includes stints as a bible-thumping-door-to-door witnessing Baptist, a confused agnostic, an angry atheist, a momentary Buddhist, and finally growing into maturity as so-so Lutheran. I have been college educated as a dollar-chasing capitalist in several fine colleges. No formal training in theology or philosophy or the human condition ever presented itself. I have read the Bible from cover to cover a few times—King James, New International Version, English Standard Version, and God’s Word.  One should keep up with the times.  My Grandfather Heck would have been ashamed of my appalling lack of knowledge of  the Scriptures.
Having set down two paragraphs of disclaimers, here is my belief in God.
1.      HONEY. Honey does not spoil. It is everywhere. Bees make it. Humans eat it. Aristotle recorded in 322 A.D. the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of the golden liquid. It heals wounds and settles baby’s tummy. If the honey crystallizes over time, setting it in the sun will return it to its natural state. The cast-off of honey is beeswax. A beeswax candle burns smoke-free and naturally bright light of the same light spectrum as the sun. A single candlelight can be seen by a human a mile away. The wax and honey are biodegradable, renewable, and environmentally friendly.  Honey was here on earth for us to find, to keep us healthy, fed, and safe. Follow the bears. Let there be light.
2.      MILK. Yes, I know all mammals have milk, even the platypus duck. However, the clever humans made leather skeins filled them with milk to transport and discovered…not spoiled milk…okay sometimes…but curds, whey, butter, soft cheese. Food created without effort. A gift that stores for months.
3.      OLIVES and ACORNS. Olives and acorns have something in common. The fruits/nuts need to be brined or leeched before eating. Both foods require extensive preparation. Olives have been cultivated for 5,000 to 6,000 years. Acorns were processed by the first Americans—the Indians. At what point did the human decide to start this process and ensured the survival of several continents of beings? I understand walking out of a cave after a forest fire and smelling an elk burning a few feet in front of me and saying, “Hmm barbeque good. Me want barbeque. Me cook barbeque.” And it’s not the same as wine either. Grape juice in a jug left too long equals happy juice. No processing olives and acorns required divine intervention—a whisper as to the recipe.
4.       BABY’S GIGGLE. I hear over and over the miracle of birth, the blessing of a child, and God’s gift. Okay. I know you are happy that you successfully procreated.  Hurrah! In case you did not notice, so does every other species on the planet. Some do it by just splitting apart with no real fanfare. I saw that miracle through a microscope.  You can cut earthworms in half. They regenerate and thrive. That is pretty exciting. No it is not the birth of a human child that is miraculous—noteworthy but not miraculous. It is a baby’s giggle. Have you heard it? Have you seen the child light from within and explode in happiness? There is nothing else like it on this planet. It is unique, special, and as close to God I can get without a burning bush.

5.      GOD. This is the part where you can stop reading, ignore the mad woman, or… God speaks to each of us, all the time, everywhere, and each day. So many times, I have waited for the clap of thunder, parting of the seas, or the vision to show me the next step in my life. But what I have found is that God speaks to me. Most of the time, I am talking, shouting, crying, bitching, and not listening. Once in a great while, when my mouth is shut I hear inside of me a voice that cannot be described as a wave of sound but a light as bright as the beeswax candle that helps me for a moment in my life. How can a sound be light and God? I know it is. It is my faith and what I believe.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Harvesting Oranges


            Another gorgeous day in drought-ridden Sacramento.  I started my annual collection of oranges from the mammoth tree in my yard. The crop suffered from a long period of freezes, critter munching, and lack of water. I have picked around two hundred pounds of oranges off this tree each year. Half that amount seems doable this time.
            The frost killed some of the fruit and scarred some. The scarring has attracted some nocturnal creature who wanders through nightly to eat the centers out of the oranges. In the past critters do not mess with the citrus crop—not even the birds. Only if a rotten spot appears on the fruit left too long on the tree does anything attack it. Seems we are the only animals who like —at least in Northern California—orange peels.
Now at two in the morning, my dog, Poindexter, makes a dash outside to try and kill the creature munching an early morning breakfast. I tromped out there one time with a flashlight in hopes of seeing what had moved into the yard. If it was there, I couldn’t find it but Dex madly jumped up and down on the trunk trying to reach whatever it was. Possum? Raccoon?  As one-fourth of the crop is frost damaged the fur bearer has plenty to eat this winter.
I expected to find blossoms all about the tree but the lack of water has delay the blooms. Citrus can be picked all at once like I do or can be picked a little at a time. An orange tree can have buds, blossoms, green fruit, yellow fruit, and ripe fruit all at the same time. I’m not the kind of girl to tend to the garden all the time. I’m a lazy lady farmer.
I have a drip system on my fruit trees that are less than six-years young. The orange tree is not. It’s about twenty plus years old and over fifteen feet high. The fence in the background is ten foot.  As it is a mature tree, I leave it to God, the master gardener, to take care of things. I trim branches away from the fence once a year and pick the fruit over a period of two weeks. Done.
Weed whacking, lawn mowing, leaf raking, and harvesting, cover my yard duties.  I have California native drought tolerant plants in the front yard and in the back, fruit trees, nut trees, and lovely herbs like lavender, rosemary, and thyme. None of those require any work.
I picked thirty pounds of smallish oranges and thanked God for them. Most I will give away. Some I will juice. The rest will be in my marmalade. If you missed the recipes a couple years ago, here they are again. 
Almost Raw Organic Orange Marmalade ala Pam
Into pan on the stove
• 2 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice
• Zest of 3 oranges sliced in thin ribbons
• Zest of ½ organic Meyer lemon
• 2 Tblsp Candied ginger if desired
Cook on low heat until the rind is soft and yummy. Shut of the burner and set the pan on trivet to cool.
While warm add
• 1 jar about one pound of organic honey
• Pulp of 10 organic large orange sections – no white parts. Double the amount of oranges if they are small
• Pulp of 1 Meyer lemon—no white parts
Mix thoroughly
Cool to room temperature
Mix in 1 package No Cook Pectin.
Stir for 3 minutes
Ladle into 3 small Ball brand plastic freezer jars or containers you already have
Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating—freeze or give away the rest.

Organic Orange Marmalade ala Pam

Into a clean crock pot
  • 2 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 3 oranges sliced in thin ribbons. Okay I was having so much fun with the zester that makes the thin ribbons that I put the zest of 10 oranges in it and it was too bitter so I had to pull out much of the zest. So don’t make the same mistake. If you don’t have a zester then you need to scrape all the white out of the orange peel and finely slice the rind. Good luck.
  • Pulp of 10 organic orange sections – no white parts. I used 20 oranges because my crop was small this year. If you buy oranges they will be larger so you will need less.
  • Zest of ½ organic Meyer lemon
  • Pulp of 1 Meyer lemon—no white parts
  • 1 jar about one pound of organic honey
  • I had some leftover candied ginger from Christmas and threw that in the crock pot

Heat on low heat until the rind is soft and yummy
Cool to room temperature
3 Minutes Mix in 1 package No Cook Pectin (I got that Wal-Mart)

Ladle into 3 small Ball brand plastic freezer jars or containers you already have
Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating—freeze or give away the rest.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome!

Здравствуйте!
cześć
 Thank you to the new readers of my post in Russia, Germany and Poland! I appreciate your interest as I do my American friends.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Brave

            Yesterday, my brother sent me his medal that he received during Operation Desert Storm—a Bronze Star with Valor. He carefully painted the star and the V for valor pink, stuck it in an envelope, and wrote the following. 
Pam—
I figured with all you have been through, you deserve this more than I. They pinned this on me post Desert Storm (less the pink of course).
Love ya
Little Bro
          
I thought at first that all Bronze Stars come in pink—part of the “don’t ask don’t tell” program—then erased the thought. I wondered what the medal could be for as I had done nothing remarkable in an awfully long time. Finally, I made the assumption that it was for the long five year battle to keep my husband alive. Still the medal was over the top of my deeds but I was thrilled to have my brother’s honor symbolically in my hand. After a search of the places to display the gift, I hung it in my office next to the computer and then called Steve.
            “So do all Bronze Medals come in nipple pink?”
            “No, you knucklehead. I painted it pink.”
            “I thought of wearing it to work but it might be a bit much don’t you think?”
            “Wear it on the right breast.”
            “What?”
            “The one that had cancer.”
            “Oh, pink for breast cancer.”
            “You are a little slow.”
            “Then I should hang it off of the left breast.”
            “Right.”
            “Left.”
            “Correct…knucklehead.”
            Now I felt more unworthy. I don’t consider self preservation brave—not in an adult anyway. A child going through a battle with cancer is courageous as they do not understand what is in front of them or the possible outcomes.
I did. I had two real choices: 1. Move forward with the treatments or 2. Die. Before I told a soul about my diagnosis, I did think about it for a couple weeks before I made the decision. Once done, the pain and misery of the treatments were accepted for what they were—means to an end. My brother thought my cancer worthy of an award. Bless him for thinking me brave and not pragmatic.
Bravery to me is the sacrifice of one’s life and liberty for the betterment or safety of someone else. My brother saved his platoon. The roadway in front of his patrol was covered with landmines. Flat discs decorated the sandy path. It was certain death for all if their vehicle drove over the devices. My insane brother hopped out of the truck, ran in front of the vehicle and picked up the landmine. He then tossed the thing like a Frisbee away from his men and watched it explode a safe distance away. Steve ran to the next while under enemy fire and continued tossing bombs until the road was clear and his people were safe. That was an act of courageousness.
Those who dedicate themselves as a caretaker to improve the quality of life for another can also be an act of bravery. I know because it takes a conscious decision every day to put aside your own wants and needs then dedicate that time to another person. It’s a slow march instead of a mad run to save another.
Statistically, the caretakers have a high probability of their own bodies deteriorating under the stress. Most caretakers do these things with no compensation and often little emotional support. The majority fall ill after the loss of their charge.
Neither cancer or caretaking manifest the same bravery as the Frisbee flinging Green Bret, Steve G. Pimental. Honored by his gift, I thanked my brother for saving others, loving me, and painting the Bronze Star pink. To quote a great philosopher of the Twentieth Century, “I am not worthy. I am not worthy.”

Thanks Little Bro 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

OMG Oh My Google!


            My business associate received a new computer from Santa. He has been over-the-moon happy with updating all his personal correspondence, work related material, and social networking. About the time he had everything filled in and loaded, he was asked to update Explorer to version 11.1. So he clicked the button. Dum dum Dum!
            He called me hysterical. “I’m not a geek but I know about computers… He said to log in. I did. Hacked. I was hacked.”
            “Who’s he?”
            After a circular conversation of about five minutes my friend explained. He loaded the new Explorer but when he went to print his Brother Printer did not respond. A window flashed that requested the user contact Brother. He went to Google and typed in Brother Printer Support. He clicked on the first button he could see and called the number. 866.235.7733. The support person asked him to log into LOGMEIN123. He did. Once the support person was in, he asked for $199 to complete the fix of the printer.
            My friend said no.
            That’s when the fun started. Computer files were deleted in front of his eyes. Programs deleted. And as the last insult, the screen said, “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED.” Not knowing what to do, he recorded the action with his phone. I saw it. There were more than a few cuss words in the background.
            He said he called the alternate numbers 704.266.3966 and  877.836.8352 but no answer or help. My friend had to reset his computer to factory settings and start over with customizing his computer.

WARNING: 1. Just say NO! Do not let any company access your computer unless you already have a contract with them to do so. (Like Geek Squad or Corporate Tech Support) 2. If you are being, hacked unplug the computer from the internet. 3. If you don’t know how to do that unplug the computer. 4. Be wary of any one that is not directly associated with the company in which you do business. (Like a Brother Printer should be handled by Brother.) 5. And pray.

            OMB Oh My Bing!
            Before you Bing lovers start dishing on Google Chrome, I will let you know I had a near miss about a month ago.  My Google Tool bar was covered with Bing and pop up ads. Trend Micro was not stopping the problem. (For you novice computer users, understand my computer had viruses.)
I contacted my tech support, Vlad Zilla. He directed me to a couple sites that had articles about Yahoo! and Google being Malware-ed. The instructions sent the user to Microsoft website. Interesting because the issue came from Bing, a Microsoft product, but I digress.
The instructions included cleaning up Google Chrome then installing the recommended anti-virus software on the Microsoft site. I first uninstalled Trend Micro. Then purchased and downloaded Win Zip Malware. From purchase to key code to install to scan took less than two minutes. Pleased, I went to my internet bar and found all but one of the issues gone.
So I attempted to install the second recommended product on Microsoft’s list. TECHHELP. Unlike the previous product, I spent twenty minutes trying to get the product downloaded and to receive a key code. I ended up in a phone conversation similar to the one my friend had. The tech on the other line said he would be happy to help me but first he needed to log into my computer. 
“No. That is not going to happen. I need the key code. I paid for the product. A key code should have been sent.”
“I can take care of that for you. I just need to log into your…”
“I already told you that is not going to happen. You either send me the key code or I want a full refund.”
“Okay. The key code has been sent.”
“Thank you.” I hung up and waited. After an hour, I uninstalled the program, rebooted my computer and went to work.  I received four separate phone calls from techs asking to log into my computer. Each one said he would email the key code. No one did.
At the end of the day, I called back. A different tech answered. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. “Yes sir. I have tried to get a key code for your program that I purchased this morning. I did not receive it. I did receive harassing phone calls from your company but no promised key code was emailed. I have now uninstalled the program. I request my money back in full.”
“We do not give refunds. You have downloaded the program and installed the key code.”
“I did not get a key code. You can check.”
“I can give you a key code. First we need to log into your computer.”
“That is not going to happen. I installed Win Zip Malware in two minutes. Eight hours I have put up with your company and you still cannot provide the needed code. I want a full refund now.”
“No.”
“I will contact my bank, Microsoft who recommended your company, and Google Chrome. And I will tell the world about your TECHHELP for $29.95. Please do not contact me again.” I have kept my word. My bank would not process a refund. Instead I filed a complaint with the credit card company. 
Stay safe my friends. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Drought

       
    My neighbor stood on the front porch. The obligatory cigarette dangling from her lips as she sprayed her front lawn with a water hose. On my way to the mailbox, she said, “Good afternoon, Pam.”
            “Good afternoon, Sarah. Did you know it rained for about 30 seconds a few hours ago?”
            She took the cigarette from her lips and looked around the cul-de-sac. “Can’t tell.”
            “Yeah. No one can.”
            I put up my Christmas lights after Thanksgiving. It sprinkled tiny drops on me then. Yesterday, I took down my lights—six weeks in between and not a drop of rain. Today, moisture came down so light it wasn’t measurable.
Meanwhile, the Eastern States flood and freeze.
            I lived in the Bay Area during the worse and longest droughts—1986 through 1991. Hot, dry, and miserable, the Bay-ites put bricks in the tanks and didn’t flush for number one not even in restaurants. We skipped showers, watched our yards turn to dust, and drove cars that all looked earth-toned. Hot. Dry. Miserable.
            The bonus round for the lack of water was Santa Ana winds, forest fires, and then the Quake of ’89. “Memories may be beautiful but yet…”
Finally, the rains came—hard and fast. On vacation, Paul and I walked hand in hand as the banks of Napa River overflowed into the streets and soaked our feet on the sidewalk. Redwoods fell over in Sausalito, the roots no longer secure as years of drought separated them from the soil. Earthquake shaken dirt turned to mud and erased banks in South San Francisco, Big Sur and SoCal.
Postcards for the tourist trade depicted the four seasons of California: drought, fire, flood, and mud slides.

Well, “Tighten your seat belts. We are in for a bumpy ride.” I am so glad I have chosen this moment in time to live a place whose summers are on average twenty degrees warmer than where I lived in 1987 through 1991. Sarcasm? Oh yay.   http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/