If I lived here, how would I tell you how to find my house?
"It's the brown house with the trees in front. You can't miss it!" THEY'RE ALL BROWN!!! What was I thinking???
This is typical suburbia in Lincoln, California. And, most likely many other places around the country. All the houses look the same. The yards are slightly different but not much. As I drive around each day and I'm pondering thoughts, I wonder...where are all the solar collectors?
These homes sit down in the valley in sheer sunshine. They have newly planted trees (you can tell by the small size of them here.) Why, with all the vast information that has been out there for years, have the architects and developers not thought ahead and placed solar collectors on each and every roof-top? The sun will be there for a long time most likely. The oil: limited resource. And, in light of the oil spill so prominently in the forefront of our minds right now, not such a good investment when it comes to human lives. Not a good trade-off in my opinion.
And the yards? Are we not aware that water is in short demand around the world? Green lawns? No fruit or nut trees? What about turning the lawns into vegetable gardens instead of ornamental plantings? At least the water that was used to keep the vegetables alive and growing would be put to good advantage: we could EAT the vegetables. Lawn: useless!
Is it only me or do other people think about the waste that we, as human beings, are perpetuating just to look good to others? B and I watched a movie titled "HOME" that was narrated by Glenn Close. I thought that it was going to be a hopeful movie but the farther we got into it the more apparent it became that we are doomed. We were SO depressed after watching it. I recommend it to anyone that wants to see our sheer stupidity as human beings. The movie was so profound and so well photographed. But, be prepared to come away thinking and feeling that there most likely will be nothing we can do to reverse the damage we have created just by being greedy.
It really makes me think about the impact that I have on this world. The small things we do here to recycle, grow our own vegetables, conserve electricity, etc., might only be a drop in a bucket. I'm hoping that the earth can repair itself but in my estimation it will only happen after all the humans are long gone. It feels like it will be too little, too late.
What are YOU doing to conserve? Are there enough of us that care? How many of you drive daily to work and then again on weekends? I, admittedly, drive more than I wish I had to. There is no alternative for me up here. But, in the cities there are mass transit systems available for people to use daily in their commute to and from work. I see way too many cars on the freeways with single occupants. Again...not well thought out. Can't we think outside the box? Can't we plan for a future we might not be able to imagine at the present time?
These homes, sitting in the middle of a vast hot and dry valley in Lincoln, California, were not there in the 1970's. When I was going to work in those days, I worked in that hot, dry valley. And at the time I used to say to myself: who in their right mind would want to live HERE? Well, thousands upon thousands of people now DO. We couldn't have even imagined it then. But 30 short years have passed and it is packed with people, sitting in their brown houses with their SUV's, driving to the market to purchase expensive purses, jewelry, VEGETABLES to serve to their families that night for dinner. How easy would it be to not do any of these things or better yet: plant a garden, join a car pool, ride a bike to work or walk, take rapid transit or a bus, and purchase solar collectors?
I suppose companies like PG&E would have to lay off employees if they had to buy back energy from all these homes. After all: they are a business and businesses are in it to make money. Bottom line. The thing that I find odd about PG&E specifically (Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for those of you who live in different parts of the country) is that they currently do not offer to buy back any excess power produced by solar collectors. We looked into to purchasing a solar unit for our roof and were told we had too many trees to make it worthwhile. And that there was no buy-back in place. Perhaps this will change in the near future as energy becomes more and more scarce and expensive. Perhaps they will see the benefit in it and offer huge incentives to people to set up solar collectors. We can only hope that they can think to the future. That they can think outside the box. And that they stop thinking about their profit and about what's good for the earth. Watch "HOME" and then tell me what you think! Until then, ride your bike to work. Take a bus. Pick up two or three other passengers that are going the same place that you are and make the trip worthwhile. It might only be a drop in the vast bucket we have looming ahead of us to fill but, how many drops does it take to fill a bucket?
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE ALL OF THESE COME TRUE.
I KNOW, I'M TAKING ADVANTAGE OF MY BLOG AND THE PEOPLE WHO READ IT (HOPEFULLY) TO POST AN AD FOR MY SISTER AND HER TIRELESS EFFORTS TO WORK TOWARDS THE EFFORT TO END CANCER FOREVER. SHE AND A BUNCH OF WOMEN IN OUR SMALL TOWN HAVE FORMED A GROUP CALLED (GET THIS:) THE NIPPLETS! THEY TRAIN AS A TEAM AND WALK THE SUSAN G. KOMEN 3-DAY WALK FOR THE CURE. THEY WORK ALL YEAR LONG TO RAISE FUNDS. SOME OF THEM HAVE BEEN INVOLVED SINCE 2003. THEY DO FUND-RAISERS AND SOLICIT DONATIONS IN ANY WAY THAT THEY CAN. THIS YEAR, ONE OF THE WALKERS, BARBARA JOHNSON, HAS OFFERED HER LODGE AS A PRIZE. THE DETAILS ARE POSTED HERE AND YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE WONDERFUL PHOTOS OF FISH THAT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT THERE. YOU CAN LOG ON TORAINFORESTCHARTERS.COM TO FIND MORE OUT ABOUT THE ACTUAL LODGE AND WHAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER. WHO KNOWS: A MERE $100 DONATION COULD WIN YOU THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME IN BEAUTIFUL ALASKA. AND HELP FUND THE CURE FOR CANCER. (BY THE WAY: SEE THAT YOUNG MAN WITH THE REALLY BIG FISH IN THE CENTER PHOTO? THAT IS AIDEN WILFLY, THE SON OF MY FRIEND CHUCK. AND HE CAUGHT THAT FISH! AWESOME, RIGHT?
Yesterday was another sad day for us this month. I don't know what is going on but we have lost so many people that we know in the last month and year. More than we have in a long time. Is it the fact that we're just getting older and so the percentage rises? Or is it the fact that time is moving faster, accelerating toward something unknown and as yet undefined? I read about this on other people's blogs and have often wondered about it. Whatever the case may be, it is getting a bit emotional around here and so very, very sad.
It conjures up all those "nasties" inside of me; you know: the ones that make me think how short life is and make me miss those I am estranged from now. It makes me miss my Dad, who committed suicide when I was seven. It makes me think into the future and NOT want to miss anything with my own children or grandchildren. Life is curious that way, isn't it? Are these the lessons we must learn while here? I tend to think "yes".
Karen over at Maggie's Secret Garden had a post a few days ago about a young woman who was killed in an auto accident and pointed us to her blog where her husband wrote the most beautiful tribute to his wife. She left behind two small children. I am always so conflicted with how such a loving god could do this to someones family. Those people needed her. She was so very much loved. I don't want to get into religious discussions about it with anyone because I know that it can never be understood or defined and I certainly could never be convinced otherwise but it certainly makes a person pause and reflect. One thing it DOES do is bring people together. Funny how it's usually weddings (well for me-- not so much) and funerals that bring us together. We always want those we love around us at times of sadness. It's just sad that it takes big events to be the impetus toward that.
On to Averill. Averill was my husband's last living relative from that generation. She was a wonderful woman, full of family history and stories, full of love and generosity, full of life. Until the very end. She never showed her true feelings to us when we would visit her. I'm sure she was in a great amount of pain from her lung cancer but you would have never known it. She was always there smiling when we arrived to visit her. Always telling a joke or a story about her lost love. You see: her husband was shot down in his plane in the Korean war over 60 years ago and she raised two wonderful children, Kent and Kathleen all those years. She was stoic and loving and always fun to be with. Stories were told yesterday of her being the most fun mother on the block, of water fights and sleep-outs in a tree fort, of food that she would make and deliver to them in the tree fort, of animals and nature and all things wonderful. Averill: you will be greatly missed.
If there is an after-life and we get to spend eternity with those we love, I hope that Neal was there waiting for her with open arms and that after the long wait, they can finally be together and share the love that was taken from them so young in life. Life: so many unanswered questions. So many wasted moments holding grudges or feeling animosity or hatred towards those who were once significant in our lives. I look at moments like this, this sadness that I feel today, and hope that there are no regrets when my time comes. Or when someone unexpectedly gets taken from me. We always think we can just live with "no negativity" in our lives UNTIL that one moment, that tragedy arrives that was unpredictable. Life is full of uncertainty and, sorry to say, a bit of negativity. That is the definition of life. If we could predict what MIGHT happen to those around us, we wouldn't have to go through days, weeks, or months of this kind of sadness.
It's easy for some to say that "that's life", explaining it away that "she was old, she lived a good life, etc." but in reality she was a person that still had a lot of life inside of her to give. A lot of love to give. It was taken away from her "unexpectedly" and it was a darn shame.
Rest in peace Averill. Thank you for your love and generosity. Thank you for your life and the impact you made on all those around you. You will truly be missed.
I was painting my bathroom today with a new Martha Stewart low VOC paint named "Hemp" and had to remove all the pictures, paintings, and do dads that I had up. I set them aside in another room until the paint was totally dry and then began to clean, polish and re-hang them all. Some I moved to other rooms; some remained in their same spot.
This little framed piece was given to me years ago by someone I used to be able to call my friend. I wonder now, if she remembers giving this to me, and if so, does she remember what the words said and why she picked it out? Sure, it has pansies on it. Pansies are one of my favorite flowers. I have lots of things with pansies on them. Maybe even too many.
But the words are what struck me today when I was cleaning the glass and pondering where I should hang this. The words are so poignant, so wise, yet she remains in the background reading this most likely, but choosing to remain silent.
I'm not quite sure about the saying on this little plaque. I think that life holds a little of both good and bad. Some yin, some yang. You couldn't appreciate one without the other. Another friend once told me all you need in life is ONE GOOD FRIEND. I always believed what she told me to be true. She was a wise woman. If that's the case, then I will be forever young, according to this plaque.
What do you consider to be a good friend? Are there categories for friends?
The relationships between 4 women and everything they went through on the TV show "Sex and the City" is what I think of when I think "Good Friends". Would you consider these 4 friends "Good Friends"? Those ladies sure had their ups and downs but remained solid friends in my estimation. Carrie really made some blunders when it came to men yet her friends supported her AND told her that she was making a mistake. Samantha?? What about her? Wow...talk about having an open mind when it comes to being her friend. Yet, when she got breast cancer all her friends were there to support her. They bolstered her through her bad times. And what did they do when Carrie got dumped at the altar? They all went on a vacation together to soothe her and help her forget. This group of women I admired. I loved the relationships that they developed and how they all supported each other's differences.
Maybe I watch too much TV. Maybe these kinds of relationships don't really exist. Maybe you have to edit everything you say in order to be a good friend. I not sure anymore. I guess I'll put this plaque up on a shelf until I can figure it out.
"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive." Eleanora Duse
I must say that I feel very lucky. I have the privilege of working from this vehicle every day that I am at work. It has a portable desk located on the passenger side. It has my lunch and water for each day to give me sustenance. There are dog biscuits in a zip-lock bag in case I need to "persuade" a dog to be friendly. Most of all it has the ability to carry me to different locations daily, without the confines of four walls (with or without windows). I used to have an office job: I hated it. Too confining. Too restrictive. This suits me just perfectly!
This was where I was lucky enough to work from on Thursday: Squaw Valley. How many people have the ability to look outside their office and see THIS? For those of you who don't know: Squaw Valley was the site of the Olympics and many Olympians train at this location during the winter. It is a spectacular place. And, it is still lush even though we are in the midst of summer.
This is where I took a five-minute break. I had a sip of water from my Thermos, snapped a picture with my camera, and moved on to my next location. This shot is looking south toward Heavenly Valley and Emerald Bay.
"The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness."
I wish that you could smell this photo! There is nothing like the smell of this plant. I believe that people call it Skunk Cabbage (lysichiton americanus) but I might be wrong. The leaves look right but the flowers seem different from what I can find in my Audubon book. My co-worker Rene will know. I will have to ask her. She is like an encyclopedia when it comes to plants and animals. She is my "go-to" person! I love the smell of this plant though. It has a sense memory for me.
A close-up of the flower.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
A QUOTE FROM ALICE WATERS, OWNER OF CHEZ PANISSE RESTAURANT IN BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: "DON'T WORRY SO MUCH ABOUT [MY DAUGHTER] FANNY'S FUTURE. SHE'S PART OF THE WORLD THAT UNDERSTANDS REAL PRIORITIES, AND PART OF THE GENERATION THAT WILL REGENERATE THE PLANET."
IT ALL BEGINS WITH THE A"B"ILITY TO LOVE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE.
AND HER FAITHFUL COMPANION, MR. BEAR.
AND THE HEALTH OF THE BEES.
THE GENERATION THAT WILL REGENERATE THE PLANET. A DELICATE BALANCE.
I recently sent my friend a birthday card that said something like: "You're not old until your lipstick starts creeping up over your lip". (Or something like that). Anyway, you get the idea. You've all seen women who need to make their upper lip "a bit bigger", so the lipstick finds it's way up closer to your nose than it should be.
This is my granddaughter, Natalie, who has shown you HER version of getting older here. She is five now. She turned five the end of May and continues to amaze me every day. Her Mommy and Daddy are the best parents and really have done a wonderful job raising her. I feel lucky to be around her all the time now, watching her grow. What a wonderful summer she is having. Ocean trips, collecting shells, swimming lessons, movies, sleep-overs...what every young girl should experience and remember. Now that we have a pool we get to see her much more than we used to. And with a summer full of hot days, there will be many more opportunities I'm sure.
Wishing you all a summer full of memories, hot days, and dips in a pool, lake, stream or river. The special fragrance that comes along with summer will make an indelible mark in your mind. Scents have the ability to transport you instantly to a place and time from years before. Smells like skunks, damp grass, ripening fruit, chlorine from a pool, flowers like roses and their sweet fragrance wafting in the air, the smell of damp earth around a lake, wood-smoke from a campfire, pine needles at higher elevations, the strange smell of canvas from a tent, sun-tan lotion. These are some of the smells that are permanently embedded in my mind. What about you? What scents spell summer for you?
A few weeks ago I saw this when I looked up inside of a tree. The other day, in a completely different tree, I found this. I'm not sure how they are getting there but someone is having a great time "planting" rocks in trees. I guess it just goes to show you that you should never take anything for granted and always expect the unexpected. Always!
It seems that Brian and I have been on the same wave-length again. Isn't it crazy how that happens? I am always amazed at it when it does happen but you would think that by now I would expect it and accept it for what it is: connections. Read Brian's stuff here and here to see what I mean. If you've never read any of Brian's work, you will soon be hooked and amazed at the complexity, sincerity, and depth that this writer has. I just keep going back for more every day. I always wonder how he manages to be so prolific. Maybe it's because he's so young!! Or just talented. I'm inclined to think the latter.
Anyway...I have been taking photos along the way this year as I travel the county setting bug traps for the Agricultural Department. It only takes me a second to roll down my window, snap a photo and move on down the road to the next location so I don't think that I am wasting time. I consider it to be part of my 15-minute break every 2 and 1/2 hours. (Right Rene?)
I think it's fun to see what kind of receptacle people decide to put out in the front of their homes to receive their mail. Some have a great sense of humor, some are quite elaborate, some are home-made. We just have one of those group boxes down by our county road...ugly gray, multiple doors, mail slot for out-going mail, and two big keyed areas for all those packages that are too big for the regular door. But, I am always looking forward to receiving something in that ugly gray multiple door box. After all, what could be better than a package, a special envelope, a picture postcard from a friend or co-worker?
In this modern day and age, the written word seems to get lost in the shuffle somehow. Text messages, answering machines, Twitter, Email. Now we have Blogs and we can write our feelings and thoughts down for the world to read. Sometimes things get mis-understood (sadly) when they are communicated via electronic devices. But...think of it as a virtual mailbox. Send your friends and family a "letter, postcard, or package" via the computer. You'll be glad you did. And so will I. I look forward to reading what you have to say and I promise to pay attention to the words that you use and not read between the lines. Like my Dad used to say: "Say what you mean and mean what you say." It's as simple as that!!! Thanks for the connection Brian.