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


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.