Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Your Christmas Eve Gift - The Color of Life

I dedicate this post to my dearest friend Georgia Williams who is battling cancer. Who is choosing Life. Please hold love in your heart for her. Love, love, love.

http://www.bloglovin.com/viewer?blog=3885195&group=0&frame_type=b&frame=1&click=0&user=0

I have to re-post this post I received this morning. It's today's post from the Advanced Style Blog which I love. It's such an inspiration to me now that I'm (sort of) old. I don't have to dress like these gals but I can move in that direction as I so choose. However, I would like to think like them. I am inspired by their words. That is the gift. As Mae West was purported to have said. "It's not the men in my life. It's the life in my men." I'd like to think it's the life in one's life that is important.
 
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Color of Life

Text by Sue Kreitman

How old am I? Somewhere between my mid seventies, and eternity. By the time my mother was my age, she was dead for 25 years, so you can understand why I consider growing old an adventure and a privilege.

But I must tell you that I am not really an old lady; just cleverly disguised as one. Art and colour keep me young, keep me sane. Working as I do as an untutored ‘outsider’ artist is my therapy, my medicine, my joy and my purpose in life.  

I mentor and support visionary young artists and a few old ones as well. I create and curate iconoclastic art exhibitions. My life has purpose and my mind and imagination are always going full tilt.

Colour surrounds me: I revel in it, splash it everywhere, gulp it with a spoon. I am immersed in art. I make it, collect it, it fills and defines my existence. Childish, shamanistic, wild and anarchic, it is as far outside the box as it is possible to be. Box?? There is no box!

When I leave the house, I cannot bear to leave my collections and creations behind. So I wrap, festoon, curate myself before I sashay out into the world. The kimonos I wear everyday are hand painted by Diane Goldie, or collaged by Lauren Shanley, or designed by me, and stitched together by a local tailor.  My necklaces are art objects, usually rather large, and created by me, or by artist friends.

How lucky I am: relatively healthy, a supportive family, a wild assortment of vivid and talented friends. At this age, we may not be dead yet, but we can almost see it from here. It’s the Memento Mori thing: remember death, but choose life for as long as you possibly can.


Be bold, be adventurous.  Do profound things, dazzle yourself and the world. Contribute to society, and live large. Life is short, make every moment count. It is never too late to find your passion.

http://www.suekreitzman.com

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Circles



“and life comes to one, as we dance on, dance on.” – ee cummings

Last night was the longest night of the year. We lit candles all over the house and had a big fire in the woodstove. We talked about this past year. We talked about the year to come. It was a good night to reflect and dream. I’ve read things recently that suggest our ancestors had a conviction that this was the time of year to do nothing. To stop. And it’s really interesting to note that before I heard this I’ve been having the urge to do just that. Nothing. No writing. No drawing or painting. Of course, the animals still need to be fed and the water situation still needs to be addressed. The Ranch still has its needs. It doesn’t stop. But I can at least slow down. But last night we did as the ancestors did. We just stopped.
I think the seasons are a wheel that slows more and more until it finally stops. All day yesterday it was stopped. Now, today, it starts up again. But slowly. It slowly gains momentum as the sun gains strength. Yes, the coldest days are yet to come. Yes, winter is probably going to be at her worst in the coming month but we’re ready. We’re still here and we have enough and we’re going to make it. It’s not even Christmas yet. We’re looking forward to the celebration of the new born baby who brought light and love to the world. But I can see why long ago the people who were in control moved that lustrous holiday a few notches over from the Solstice. The Solstice is very, very powerful and I wouldn’t want to be associated with it if I was trying to start a new tradition. It would be so confusing. So we get to have two powerful traditions right in the darkest time of the year. Can you really imagine life without these traditions? I can’t. I would be super depressed and looking around to make something up to replace them.
To be sure the Solstice has lost some of it’s validity in the world. At least, here in the good ole U.S. of A.  But here on the ranch it still has sway. We sort of, in a way, endure winter out here and count the days until the warm days begins again. The Solstice marks the change. On the day after we remind ourselves that the warmth is only a few months away and the dark season is beginning to end. We’re cycling back.
Here are a few images from the ranch that remind me that circles are so very much a part of life. Something begins, something ends, everything eventually comes around to where it began.


A Fairy Ring of Mushrooms



Woodpecker Holes


A Stone Splashes into the Pond

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Mystery Tree Revealed



We use Newville Road to get to Orland. Newville has signs on the internet and other directional signs when you get off. However, when you get to Newville there is not a single sign to tell you that you are there. You just have to know that the falling down structure over there is the old gas station(?) and that there were a lot of houses there at one time. The biggest indicator that Newville, a boomtown for chrome mining and logging, was once there is that there is a good size cemetery. That really tells you something. Newville is dead and gone.
Farther past Newville as you continue your trip to Orland there’s what I call Turkey Woods because we always see a huge flock of turkeys strutting their stuff. There’s the pomegranate tree on Millsaps property and we bandito-ed a few when they were ripe. They cost a couple bucks in the stores and I’m sure as heck not going to pay that if we can get some for free. I’m getting to know the road pretty well. We travel it a fair amount. There was one thing that we kept driving past that made me rubberneck and it wasn’t until last week that I said let’s stop. I have to see what this is.
It was a medium size tree/bush that had lots of large ruttle-ly lime green globes hanging from the branches or scattered all over the ground underneath. I picked one up and some sap stuck to my fingers. Otherwise it was unremarkable except for its size (large – about 3 ½ “ in diameter) and texture (weird). We took it home and I got out my reference books. Badda-bing! It was immediately identifiable as an Osage Orange.
            An Osage Orange is not an orange. It’s actually a member of the mulberry family. It’s not much good for anything. You (human) can’t eat it. The rind is very tough. It’s got a white latex-y kind of sap and thick flesh. Livestock will eat it.



Turns out it’s native to eastern Oklahoma and northern Texas but it spread across the Great Plains because settlers used them for hedgerows. I have no idea how this one lone Osage Orange came to be growing by the side of the Newville Road. Don’t you wish every thing could speak and tell its history? I’ve never seen another like it. Maybe someone came out here and they were from Oklahoma. Maybe they thought it would be a good idea to start a hedgerow there. Or maybe they thought this is good wood. We can do something with it someday. So they planted it.
Turns out if you prune it you can make a thick, tight hedge. But watch out for the nasty thorns. Maybe it’s not worth it. The best thing about an Osage Orange is the wood. It’s very strong and resistant to rot so it’s really good for fence posts. Native Americans prized it for making bows.
So there ya go. Learn something new every day.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Gift of the Gift


Andrea Hjelskov
I'm re-posting  something really nice that was written by a wonderful Danish writer and blogger Andrea Hjelskov. Her wonderful blog post came at a great time for me on so many levels. On a completely mundane level it came when I was having brain blockage from a really bad head cold. I can't think very well and I'm not going to make me. Think that is. One thing I've learned from escaping into this new life is that I must honor what my body tells me it needs. For years I ignored my body and told it to suck it up and then the mule came and kicked me. It said I've had enough. So let me tell you in no uncertain terms. I almost died. But I didn't. And I got the message.

I couldn't have said it better - what Andrea is saying here. This is the Season of Giving. In my bid to live life like it's a feast and not some crumbs off the table I like to think into each item that comes along and savor it and give it flavor. Sorry for the bad rhyme. I think you get what I'm getting at. So again, Andrea says it so well I thought why even try to? So I won't. She gave me permission to re-post it so here you are and I hope you feast on it! It's an interview with a woman named Marie Godwin. Andrea introduces her.

The Gift of the Gift by Andrea Hjelskov

Marie Goodwin is a woman working with gift economy. She is a writer and a personal assistant to Charles Eisenstein. I think they both do tremendously important work and I really appreciate how they try to articulate gift and sharing economy, the foundations, the challenges, the possibilities. You can read more about gift economy here and Marie wrote a really good introduction to the challenges of running a business in the gift economy. I recommend reading about this. This is something… happening.

Not long ago I asked Marie Goodwin some questions about “the gift of the gift” and these are her answers.

This is also a gift.

Just for you.

Marie gave me her thoughts and perspectives, she gave me a little bit of time and she invested in our relationship by doing this for me… so that I could write this blogpost… for you. I invest in you.

What is a gift, Marie? I sometimes think that we, in our culture, look to the gift as an OBJECT but it could be more than that, right? What do you think a gift is? How do you define it? How do you articulate it? What does it MEAN to give someone a gift?

​I think a gift has two components: 1)  the first is need. A gift must fill a need that exists in the receiver’s life, whether or not that need is known or unknown to the receiver. The giver, understanding the need, makes an attempt to fill it. ​2) The second is that a gift must create a bond between giver and receiver.
I think both of these things fly in the face of our weird, western attitudes about gift giving. We conflate charity with gift. Charity is giving without a bond and not really knowing anyone’s particular needs. We just give to give. That is an act of generosity, for sure. But it isn’t true gift giving. Living in the gift means being aware of opportunities to fill needs and to create emotional bonds (and receive emotional bonds) through the gift you give.

You have been working “in the gift” for a long time not at least in relation to your work with Charles Eisenstein.  I would like to hear about the challenges of this work? And has it changed you?

​The biggest challenge has been that almost no one knows what ​I’m talking about when I say, “I’m working in the gift…”. They think, “I’m donating my time for free…” (see note above about “charity”). There is a lot of judgement. When I say I have an almost full-time job, some people have pushed back and said, “Well, not really… you are doing your work for free, that’s not a job…” They don’t understand the gift economy and the relationship I have to Charles in the gift. I do other things through gifting too, like events as well as a side-business I’ve run. Each time, I have had to spend a LOT of time to get people to understand what the gift economy is and that gifting does not (NOT) equal free. 
I wouldn’t say that working in the gift has changed me. It has set me free and affirmed my deepest notions about work. It has made me feel more happy around work, in service to something bigger. There’s really no price for that. 
Now we´re entering the season of Christmas which is kind of like a season of gift. How do you perceive what is happening in our culture right now, this month?
 
​I see an incredible amount of consumerism and “gift giving” that is completely devoid from the actual needs present. It is giving out of obligation. Giving because spending money on someone is now seen as what is important, rather than filling actual needs. I do think there is an actual longing for connection, but because we are so disconnected from people in our lives (living remotely from extended family, children spending most of their waking moments away from home and away from adults, not having any community), we don’t actually know what people need. What might be a really appropriate gift… what might build a bond between giver and receiver. We want the bond, but don’t know how to get there. 
How do you celebrate Christmas? How do you give gifts? How do you raise your child to understand Christmas?
 
​We celebrate Christmas, kind of. We aren’t Christian, so it isn’t a holiday for religious reasons at all. More because our extended family (and culture!) expects us to be participants. Really, the main celebration in our house is our yearly participation in our local theater’s presentation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a story about the gift of insight and deep change, the effects of true giving and relationship, the dire consequences for an individual who prioritizes money over everything else in life; and the presence of life-changing miracles. Learning and re-learning Dickens’ story is a gift unto itself every year. If you haven’t read it in the original, I highly recommend it.
We do give gifts to each other as a family and I try to be a mindful giver…but I have to admit … I really struggle with this one. I feel little joy (and a bunch of resentment) at the expectation of mindless giving. I don’t send out Christmas Cards, or drive myself to the brink of insanity to prepare trinkets for people. I’m not really handy or crafty, although I have been known to whip up a tincture or two for people to give them.
We try always to make Christmas earth-centered (solstice orientation) and each year our community has gatherings that celebrate the solstice, with drumming and fire. 
What is the gift of the gift? What will people gain from working with gift economy? What is the true nature of giving?
 
​I think the gift of the gift is learning to create and depend on community again. Trust is the main tenet of living in the gift. And it is really hard. But it is like a muscle that has not been used in awhile; with some use and time it grows strong. People really love receiving but they also love giving, and if you are seen as a giver in your community you will be taken care of when you have needs. Testing those waters and finding people around you is the best thing you receive from living in the gift. Knowing that you have a net underneath you is valuable beyond measure.
Here's a link to the original articlehttp://andreahejlskov.com/2014/12/05/the-gift-of-the-gift/
 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Home School Just For Fun






Were you home schooled? I bet most of you would say you weren’t but after you read this list you might say well yes maybe I was …

My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

My mother taught me religion.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My father taught me about time travel.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you to next week!”

My father taught me logic.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”




My mother taught me foresight.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

My father taught me irony.
“Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My mother taught me about the science of osmosis.
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

My mother taught me about contortionism.
“Just look at the dirt on the back of your neck!”


My mother taught me about stamina.
“You’re going to sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

My mother taught me about weather.
“This room of yours looks as if it was hit by a tornado.”

My mother taught me about hypocrisy.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. Don’t exaggerate!”

My father taught me the circle of life.
“I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”

 
My mother taught me about behavior modification.
“Stop acting like your father!”

My mother taught me about envy.
“There are millions of less fortunate children who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

My mother taught me about receiving.
“You’re really going to get it when we get home!”

My mother taught me medical science.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to stay that way.”


My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on. I can tell when you are cold!”

My mother taught me how to become an adult.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

My mother taught me genetics.
“You’re just like your father.”

My mother taught me about my roots.
“Shut that door behind you. Were you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me wisdom.
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

My father taught me about justice.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thank Full



A little list of things that make me glad that I have been given the gift of life. Stream of consciousness. Not in order of importance or maybe it is. (I wish I could write it horizontally. The problem with physical space.) Not even the tip of the iceberg for which I am thank full each and every day.

My life out here
My wonderful daughter Ari
My amazing partner Marty
My beautiful friends and family which are many and greatly appreciated
God’s grace which he bestows upon me every day
Breath
Feeling
Sight
Insight

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Herb Caen Moment



We just got our first significant rain of the season. Three-quarters of an inch. We’re very happy. I’m peering over the edge of our rain catchment system into the tank to see what bounty I’ve collected. Can’t wait until it’s flowing over the top.

What am I missing? People having to call 911 to get out of a corn maze? This news story was going around at Halloween time. This is what I say: Walk through the corn dodo-head! Corn is planted in rows! Follow the row! Some people on the internet are saying such hogwash like “Have you ever tried to walk through corn?” Like this is some kind of excuse. Yes, I have walked through corn. Sorry, folks. Spent many a summer de-tasseling corn back in Ioway. We born and bred Iowan who say stuff like “born in the corn” know better. It’s just a plant! Not a solid brick wall. OK, maybe the panicked ones are thinking of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn and there’s no way they’re going to venture off into the weird unknown. Or they’re thinking “must stay in the lines!” like some kind of zombie. But we Iowans (or Nebraskans or Illini) are laughing our heads off in amazement.

I was inspired to make fermented rye bread by this wonderful Danish writer who I recently discovered. Read her at www.andthepioneerlife.wordpress.com. I almost had a Lucy moment when the sourdough starter overflowed the banks of the crockery jar I had put it in. Darn! It was such a cute crockery jar and seemed made for sourdough. It was just too small. Will adjust the recipe accordingly next time. Meanwhile the ripening sourdough lives in a big crockery bowl for five days and then when she’s nice and sour we’re getting her out to make lots of fermented rye bread with fennel seed, sesame seed, poppy seed, sunflower seed, cracked wheat and rye. I’m going to try the Danish way with cheese and carrot marmalade. More pictures and commentary on that next week.

Watch out Charlie you're getting too close!

Our dog is a ground squirrel dog. We have thousands of ground squirrels here. It’s too bad they are not really edible. Hewitt would eat them. I bet. www.benhewitt.net. Great writer by the way. Check him out. If we wanted to act like hunter gatherers we would have an endless supply of bite size meat. As it is they are somewhat of a nuisance. They attract rattlesnakes. We killed 6 rattlesnakes this past summer. Rattlesnakes are beautiful, not endangered and so poisonous. You never know if you’re meeting an inexperienced baby rattlesnake who will not know enough to leave you alone. We would leave them alone but maybe they would not leave us alone and we don’t want to take a chance to find out. The squirrel dog was bitten this past summer and almost didn’t make it. So the ground squirrels have to go as much as we can make them go. The dog is helping. In the past two weeks he cornered and killed 3 squirrels. 3 down 5,000 to go. And just so ya know his kill is quick and ferocious so the ground squirrel does not suffer. I was relieved to see that. Although I'm not partial to ground squirrels I'm also not partial to any critter suffering. We're all nations caught on this planet. Everything has its place and is worthy of respect.






Happy, happy, happy! I'm Bona-fide!


I found a pile of rusty nails out in the middle of the horse pasture this week. No fences or buildings for miles. Why are they there? I’m astounded we have not had more limping horses with nails in their hooves. We have had one incident. That's all. Lucky! For all the rusty nails I find you'd think there would be more. Thank you for tetanus shots. We get them for the horses and ourselves. Maybe I’ll figure out how to make found art sculpture with all the rusty metal things I find.



In preparing the garden beds for winter I found some yummy chicken treats. Cutworms or grubs whatever generic term you wish to use is fine. Of course, the chickens had to eyeball them first. Really? Food that moves? Then they tucked in. It was a feeding frenzy and I was so happy watching them feast. The hens and rooster are looking quite robust and ready for the cold weather. This protein is all good.

Natural chicken protein food and a flattened preying mantis for garnish.

I ran across this picture from the “olden days” when we were what I called “woods hippies”. Back in the day we went back to the land. We had a good old time sleeping by the glowing woodstove on cold winter nights in the old farm house and some days I wish I could take what I’ve learned and go back. I had a good time and now I would have an even better time. The things I worried about then like having a boyfriend and what people think of me I don’t worry about anymore. Now I'm too old and sick and couldn't live like that. It's rather an extreme life.

Dan, Will, Hound Dog, Baseball aka John, Lynn, Chris and Gary

And because I can’t leave you without some food for thought here’s an excerpt from a poem by Charles Bukowski called The Genius of the Crowd. I think the title might be tongue in cheek. I got it from a website called www.eumaeusandtheworm.wordpress.com. This Eumaeus is a pretty insightful and thought provoking guy. I recommend that you check him out.

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace
-
those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love
-
beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return

Monday, November 3, 2014

Young Lions


I’ve been following the exploits of some of my friends on Facebook. Some of my old friends are posting pictures of themselves when they were in their 20’s. It just dawned on me what amazing people we were.

I thought: We were Young Lions!

Baker Beach and I - a swath of fabric for a kerchief
Some of us were soldiers and some of us were activists. Some of us followed a spiritual teacher. Some of us volunteered for the Peace Corps. Some of us went back to the land. Some of us tried to work within the system to change it. We were a loud generation. Our music was loud and in your face.

Paul and I
Some of us went to Vietnam. Some of us went to Canada. We weren’t complacent. And we tried to see inside our motivations and do better. We followed the Maharishi, Ram Dass, Jim Morrison, The Beatles, and Zen Buddhism.We ate organic and raised our own food.

The Maharishi and I - The dress (made by me)
Just like all young people we were beautiful. We were strong and lithe and we enjoyed ourselves like young people do. We danced uninhibitedly. We weren’t afraid to try new things. We thought that love was something to be freely shared. It didn’t always work but we kept an Open Mind.

Sandy and I - still had The Dress Top
Now we’re old. Some of us caved in and were swallowed up by The System. But some of us are still feisty and if we’re not living in direct confrontation to the establishment we are working quietly behind the scenes bending the rules. Most of us have kept an Open Mind. Many of us still look inside to find Truth. We’re still Lions but we’re long in the tooth. We are beautiful but the beauty isn’t of the flesh but of the mind, of thought.

Street Fair Golden Gate Park - another Paul and I
This poem reminds me of those days. It means “souvenir” or “remember”.

Recuerdo
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall at The Ranch, Jill Takes a Tumble, Mom's Pin



Fall Festivities on the Ranch
Fall is so busy on the ranch! We’re getting ready for winter by checking all the pipes to make sure they’re properly insulated. We’ve constructed a new rain catchment system to help save water for when it gets dry again. We’ve gathered, cut and split 5 cords of wood. We’ve cleaned out the vegetable beds and prepped them for winter. We’ve cleaned out the landscaping of dead and overgrown weeds. We’ve been riding our horses in the grand and glorious fall weather almost every day! We have even gone on some wild turkey scouting expeditions.

Jill Came Tumbling After
Until I took a tumble down the stairs! Of course, I pick the stairwell that isn’t lit up like a roman candle like the rest of them are! Back story: I’m visiting my daughter in Santa Cruz. I’m excited to use the pool at the resort where I’m staying and as I hurry down the stairs I miss the last step and fall to my knees, elbow and head clocking my head on the cement enclosure around the stairwell landing. OwOwOw! Only a medium foot sprain. Only a road rash knee, elbow and palm. But what about the head? My vanity doesn’t want to get the paramedics but my daughter convinces me otherwise and they come and they ask the silly questions and then they pronounce me well enough that I may decide if I want a ride to the emergency room and if not will I sign this release. So I do (sign the release) and then my daughter and I go back to my room. It’s late. It’s bed time for an old geezer like me but of course now I’m ambivalent about falling asleep. What if I croak in my sleep or miss some important warning signs that my brain is swelling up like a balloon?

I finally decide that if it’s my time then so be it. I have fitful sleep but eventually morning arrives and I’m still alive. My foot barely goes into my boot without copious amounts of teeth gritting and I get the boot on and hobble down to breakfast. The hotel is so upset that they’re still hovering just like they did last night and now they’re treating me to breakfast. The least they can do!

Now I’m waiting for the blood clot to form to end my silly life but hopefully that will never happen. Marty is doing all my ranch work and I’m very, very bummed. Being stove up is so very annoying, isn’t it?

Mom’s Pin
A wonderful thing happened. My Aunt J who is my mom’s youngest sister found a pin my mother wore when she was young. Here’s a picture of her wearing it for the portrait of four generations of first born children. Grandma F, Mom, me, Grandpa W.


My mom was an original. She didn’t do things like “normal” people do. To everything she did she brought a creativity that was so amazing.

This is the pin close up. Even then I was in love with it. Look at where I’m looking. I’m trying to look at the pin without anybody knowing. What a sly little child I was.


Here is the pin as it looks today.


Has anybody ever seen a pin like this? It’s so unique. Just like my mom. While most moms (god bless ‘em) are wearing one of those cut glass brooches with a lot of little fake diamonds what is my mom wearing? She’s wearing something that looks like a free form ink sketch. Where did she get it? What is it made out of? What a complete class act she was, I declare! So whenever someone tells me I have good taste I shriek out but you should have seen my mom she was my total inspiration and mentor. All you had to do was stand next to her and classy dharshan flowed all over you. Too bad more of it did not stick to me. But some of it did and for that I am undeniably grateful.

Mom and I -  ready to go to church
Here’s to mom. Long May She Wave!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

When I'm Sixty-Four


Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?

 
Here, on this occasion of my 64th birthday, I reflect upon my life and what has come before and think: do the lyrics apply to me? This song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney was released in 1967 on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  I was only 17 years old and not yet graduated from high school. It meant something to me then but it means something completely different now. Those words, written when John and Paul were still in their 20’s, viewed life in one’s 60’s as a time when life slowed down to a crawl and was insecure.
Now that I’ve attained the experience of actually becoming 64 I can tell you from my viewpoint that being 64 is anything but. A crawl or insecure, that is.  Many of you know exactly what I mean. I’m still quite alive and kicking and then some! Yes, let’s put an exclamation point on it! Things could never be better. Really. Oh, to be sure, I’m not rollin’ in dough but, ya wanna know the truth? Honestly? I feel more than rich. I have a beautiful life with a person who loves and adores me and who I love and adore. We have fun every day and when things get rough we band together and get over, around or through whatever’s buggin’ us! We treat ourselves to adventures and whatever we can pick off the banquet table of life.
Being 64 means I have gained perspective on stuff. Stuff doesn’t bother me like it once did. I have a pretty decent level of confidence. If people annoy me or try to do me dirt I’m not shy about speaking up. I don’t expect too much but I don’t settle either. I think I finally know myself and I’m happy with what I know.
It’s not been an easy life but, frankly, it hasn’t been hard. I compare my life to stories of other lives I’ve heard of or seen. Some lives have been a helluva lot harder than mine. Still there’s been times when I didn’t think I would make it - but I did - and usually with the support of my very good friends and I mean that in the strictest of sense. My friends are very good.
Someday when it comes time to shed this mortal coil, kick off and croak the final croak I think I’ll have a few regrets but not major ones. This is because where I’ve made some colossal mistakes I’ve also made some radical corrections to the navigational error. I’ve never stopped trying. I’m proud of myself for that. Personally, I think that’s all a person can do, really, and it is the best we, as humans, can do. In the final analysis. There has to be no measuring stick except for one’s own and if I don’t measure up to another’s idea of success, well, that’s too bad for them and I’m sorry. The point is by trying, by fighting the good fight, I measure up, in the final analysis, to my own idea of success. I’m not ever going to be a big famous something and change the course of the world but I’m contributing as much peace, love and steadfastness that I can and that’s good. I make the distinction. It’s more than just good enough. It’s just plain good with a capital G.


When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too
Ah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Ah, grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Brego


Our horse Brego went to a new home a couple days ago. It was the classic situation that happens so frequently. The girl works and goes to college full time and she doesn’t have time for her horse. We’ve had this lovely guy since he was 3 ½ . He’s 12 now so you can see it’s been a long association. It wasn’t too awfully hard because we sent him to a new home that is just down the road from where Ari lives. She can see him anytime she can squeeze in some time. It’s also a place that is perfect for him. He will be in service as a therapy horse to young men and women who have more challenges in life than most of us do. Brego is perfect for this with his vaulting background and quiet nature. We’ll miss Big Bubba. The new home is Monterey Bay Equestrian and Therapeutic Center in Watsonville. They’ve promised us that we get right of first refusal if it ever becomes necessary to re-home him so who knows? Maybe he’ll come back into our lives some day.

Bubba on the look out for his raison e'dtre - FOOD! BTW we like big butts and we cannot lie

Early days: Bubba and Ari in the Orinda pasture. Bubba has his helicopter ears on.




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Highlights from Colorado




I had a grand time visiting my sister Toni in Colorado! Here are some photographic high lights.



 At Edelweiss, a German restaurant in Colorado Springs. Aren't we cute?

Sauerbraten with red cabbage, gravy and potato dumpling. Red cabbage - Yum!

Flammkuchen - a ham and cheese pizza with potatoes, onions and mushroom. From Alsace.

Salad with 5 pickled items. Das is gute!

On Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park above the tree line. Sistahs!

A chipmunk tries to compete with the view. Don’t bite me! It didn't.

Home made cinnamon rolls in the town that almost washed away in 2013. Glen Haven, Co.

Here's Toni!  At the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Made famous by the movie "The Shining".

Horses. They're everywhere in Colorado.

For my friend Roberta. Chacha Muchacha second hand store on Santa Fe Ave.

Fish tacos at Los Tres Lunas in Brighton, CO. I ate it all. Eventually. Not at one sitting.

Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Co. Love that water!

Climbers on a sheer rock face in Eldorado Canyon. Don't worry it's not me or Toni.

Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs. In a word. Spectacular!

She who dies with the most lip balm wins! Toni loves lip balm!

Thunder storm on the plains outside of Parker, Co. Can I just take this home with me?