Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Catching Up. Again.

It's been over a month since I've written a blog post.  There are notes here, but as time went on I quit even making those, meaning to "get to it" but not quite making it.

I'm always thinking, and there's an emotional side that simmers under the surface here that doesn't always make it into the written word.  As I discussed online with a friend recently, I'm a Pooh-Bear sort of person.  I'm not Pollyanna, ignoring all the bad and pretending it's not there, but I recognize the challenges, sort them out as best I can, and move forward toward the sun.  Positivity and humor keep my motor humming.

It hit a point about the time you quit seeing blog posts where my tank ran low.  It was good enough to keep me going, and there are moments of joy and bliss, great stories, and some fun times with friends and family.  Those fueled me just enough to go, but not enough to write.  There was a deeper worry that was dragging at my ability to express myself.

As many of you know, I lost my job the end of November 2011.  I am blessed that I had savings to keep us going, enough ways to make ends meet, and fabulous family and landlords.  The end of June I hit the end of my savings, and though at this time there are still job applications hanging out there with potential, the pickings are still slim and the competition massive and fierce for the few jobs available to me.  I have begun to worry, and I have begun to go into debt that is going to bite me soon.  I quietly work to keep going, and refuse to allow it to completely sap my energy, drive, love, or zest for life.  I know that I will find a way.  I won't let it stop me from what I want and need to do.  This is just to let you know why I have been absent, and to let you know that I recognize it's time to come clean and start sharing again.

Since I last wrote, I've driven late at night from Petaluma to Healdsburg without realizing that the "pull" on the car's steering was due to a flattening tire until I saw it completely flattened the next morning.  I couldn't get the lug nuts loosened, so called for "roadside" assistance, only to discover the spare was low and the driver had no air compressor on his truck.  I was blessed not only that my son-in-law was able to bring a compressor to the house, but he "stole" two tires so he and my daughter could buy me new ones, as I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that.  All of my kids show me over and over how amazing, loving, resourceful and supportive they are, and I cannot be more thankful to have them in my life and so close.

There have been farmers market days that were great.  At the Windsor market there's a man with what I call a "hurdy gurdy," cranking out tunes and singing in French.  I look for the little monkey I know must be lurking, and I feel as if I've been transported to Paris and am walking tree-lined avenues at a leisurely pace with happy people about.  If you haven't heard him, check it out on Sunday mornings at the Windsor Town Green.

There have been days where the goats ran to the wrong pen in the morning, and then ran away from me as I tried to get them to the correct area.  A mystery wherein it appears that someone brushed and clipped the goats while I was away one day, leaving no trace or clue as to why or who it was.  I have given up trying to figure it out, and am simply grateful for the mystery person who brought smiles and delight one day.

The four youngest chicks have finally been integrated into a flock with the two Americaunas, but not before we had more shenanigans as they continued to be moved outside to their separate pen next to the others, then back inside to my bedroom in a box for the night.  One morning, I awoke to find Traz had escaped from the box.  Thankfully, she had not roamed during the night, but simply found a roost over her companions and didn't make a mess.  On another night, we arrived home after dark and the four chickens had escaped from their outside pen.  We panicked and quickly were able to round them up and into the box for their night in indoor safety.  They have integrated rather smoothly, though not without some tears from Becca in the first few minutes when Zeus pecked at them and there was much chicken shrieking as they established their "pecking order."  Because of the time we gave them to know each other separated by fencing, this was short-lived and they are all doing well now.

Persephone, the Americauna hen, started laying and I am delighted every morning now when I go out to check and discover a beautiful, perfect, small blue-green egg.

I am excited about the rest of them starting to lay, as not only will this completely obliterate the need for me to buy eggs from time to time to cover the gaps in Roxie's laying, but will provide extra for sale.  The Rhodies should lay much larger eggs than these!

I was able to resolve a problem with the propane tank after 9 months of needing to use portable tanks to take care of hot water needs.  After being told by the company that there was an underground leak in our pipes that we couldn't take care repairing right away (thousands of dollars and I was not confident in the diagnosis of the problem), I discovered that all the propane in the large, rusted looking tank was gone, which shouldn't have happened since it was completely locked off and not being used.  After an inspection by a seasoned pro, it was discovered the leak has been in the tank the whole time and our pipes are fine.  They quickly arranged to replace the tank with a new one, and credited me with the propane lost plus extra for the nine months of inconvenience and the potential unnecessary and high cost of replacing pipes that weren't damaged.  Whew!

Celebrations for the 4th of July were had over two nights.  On the night of the 3rd, we joined Jessica and Cory in Windsor for a BBQ and to watch the fireworks from their driveway.  It was easy and I thought we'd escaped the crowds until I needed to leave, taking a "wrong" turn (the back road I wanted to take was blocked) and sitting in bumper to bumper traffic with no traffic assistance personnel (they didn't expect the crowd this year) for over an hour.  We got home extremely late, and while discovering a backed up sink and small leak I bumped the pipe and it decided to separate, creating a lovely 1:00 a.m. mess in the kitchen.  We cleaned it up, and thankfully were able to have everything fixed in short order.

Amanda and Anthony were surprised by their friends and family with a stay at the beautiful location they'd been married at a year before, Vine Hill House in Sebastopol, for their anniversary.  They invited us to join them on the 4th to watch fireworks from Vine Hill and have a BBQ together.  We had a great visit in a beautiful location, and though the fireworks started late, they were perfectly visible from the (cold!) lawn.  We huddled under blankets and listened to the accompanying music on KZST, having another grand evening together.

Amanda and her friend Kyla treated Becca and I to a trip to Six Flags in Vallejo (Marine World it will always be to me) on Friday the 13th.  We had a great time wandering through the park, and the daredevils among us took full advantage of the light lines for crazy coasters.  I discovered that, though I love the wooden coasters, Roar was far too rough for me and may have been my last roller coaster ride.  Welcome to rapidly approaching 50.  Becca was able to feed a giraffe, her "favorite animal," which delighted her to no end.

We helped to move Amanda and Anthony out of a toxic living situation and into a beautiful location where they can begin to meet their goals of buying their own home.  I am so proud of them for being proactive and finding a way (and new, wonderful friends to help) toward great things.

The next two weeks are a blur of preparation for a reunion gathering I hosted at my home this past Saturday.  I like to usually send a wide open invite, but was unable to because of parking considerations here.  Unfortunately, there were so many with plans that even though I sent more than 50 invites, 1/10 were able to be here.  The kids were terrific in helping me at the house, as there were still unpacked boxes about and some work that I hadn't been able to get to outside to be done.  The place looked great, and we were able to have an intimate gathering that lasted well into the night, talking and laughing, singing and sharing stories.  It is a day and evening that will remain a treasured memory for years.  Thank you to my South Bay friends who made the extra long drive to visit.

More plans are in the works as I write this blog post, stopping from time to time to go out and see if Persephone has laid her Tuesday egg.  I'm looking forward to sharing the adventure with you again!

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