Category Archives: Photography & Art
Musing from where I don’t have to do laundry (because I’m a ‘weekly gal’ and he’s every day).
My life when COVID began …
How dare I even begin with that? There are so many who have been affected. Affected FAR more than I have been. I should mention though, that I am high risk.
But! That’s where my story, (sort of) began.
I was laid off in October. Laid off from a job I loved. I helped create it, and for five and a half years, I loved being part of it.
Broke my leg in November. Was ‘gifted’ (how horrible – I’d rather they still be on the earth and spend it!) a small inheritance late that month due to a family member passing.
I was still, however, looking for work.
It wasn’t until February that I was out of my ‘immobility’ mechanism. But hey, I was still prepared to catch a ride or work from home.
Then March came. But wait,
Holidays came and went
My kidlet came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, my husband’s kidlets were here.
Here some of us are, plus, my ‘Nic 2.0’. I ‘adopted’ him years ago lol.
Obviously prior to COVID.
But, the first of the year, I was very ill.
Not only a fever, but a continuing dry cough for six months. Other symptoms included complete and utter exhaustion. I was not exhausting myself. I literally (and yes, I mean that, not figuratively) couldn’t keep my eyes open lying down.
I wonder now if I had it.
There’s a part of me that hopes that I did. That it’s over. And, I clearly haven’t passed it to anyone as I hadn’t left the house.
Funny thing is …
My husband is in tune to events prior to me as a ‘pedestrian’.
We had already begun gathering the basics. No, no rush for toilet paper, but, water, non-perishable foods etc. went into our cellar. We had previously been purchasing necessities in bulk regardless.
Life going forward
My husband began working from home.
I stayed in the bedroom to not interrupt him.
I was not working, obviously.
I spent the majority of the time either napping or watching Netflix, THEN napping during it.
I would search for work, stress about when the ‘inheritance’ mortgage payments would run out and I was turning off summer coolants off left and right. (We don’t have A/C, we have ONE wall cooler and a ‘swamp cooler’. If you’re familiar with the swamper, you know it doesn’t work if there is any humidity in the air. Funny you should ask, because, (and I know you didn’t) We HAVEN’T YET HAD A MONSOON!
To the point of ants coming in for a drink in the bathroom.
I’m skipping the ants, because, fuck them.
And I say that kindly. Because, I’m the type of gal who doesn’t harm another creature.
I’ll tap back into this later.
What I did do in between
I spent my waking hours on the porch.
I’ve met, Meatloaf, Pacey, Eyelashes, Feather and Broken Wing. In that order. So, I think I may be killing them actually. 😦
I found a job in town!
I get to talk to actual customers (which I love).
Trust me when I say, the chance of getting a job ‘in town’ where I live has VERY, VERY, VERY low odds.
Still in my my first 120 days probation.
Now, for what you’re waiting for, maybe, if you are a fan. If you’re a souper …
She’s hanging in. Let’s see, she ‘found’ me in 2011. Must have been one back then. So, here she is at 11.
We don’t let her hang out in the outer perimeter so much these days. Too many cacti, too many snakes etc.
She still has a great life.
Yes, she gives the roadrunners a hard time lol. I tell her to knock it off.
They don’t have a roof over their head, consistent meals and lovin’s.
We still don’t speak the same language evidently. (I’m secretively glad when she chases them with her bad hips and stiff legs. She gets her exercise.)
I said I’d get back to the ants.
We had SO many in the bathroom. I will NOT harm a scorpion, spider, snake etc. etc. But, I’m sorry, if you are an ant and have 2.15 acres to BE an ant, you have no business in my home! I know you’re looking for a drink, but get more creative! Live near the dripping outside taps! There was one night I got up to pee and was badly bitten just by having my feet on the floor, that’s when I drew the line in the metaphorical sand.)
TERRO! And, since they’re determined to be on my porch at night, AMDRO stakes outside near to the house.
If I were to be judged.
The ants of my past would say, at my funeral, “She always went out of her way to not step on us.”
The spiders would say, “She always put us outside.”
The tarantula would say, “She pet my leg and hung out with me outside.”
Even the scorpion would say, “I got dizzy, but, then was released.” (bagless vacuum.)
Hope you are all doing well, being kind and staying safe.
My Central Coast is burning. I’m incredibly distressed for those I care for.
2020 seems like an awful meme about now.
Losing a friend meanwhile, getting lost. Grief and Life.
Well, it was a long week. And, I reached out a few times and many posts were not posted.
I’ll start with this so you may understand my absence.
And in the words of Mr. Gump. That’s all I have to say about that.
The weekend she passed … here’s what I was doing.
A hike to Richardson Ranch. This was the beginning of our adventure. A friends dog stayed with me, probably because she knew I was the weakest link.
The ‘noose tree’ – We found it like that a long time ago. I truly hope it wasn’t used for it’s intention. I truly hope it was designed to haul folks out of the dirt road.
Part Three: I explore Richardsons’ Ranch.
Moved on from there and …
Then this happened. You know, they say ‘Don’t hike alone’ for a reason. You could sprain an ankle, be struck by a snake, lose yourself. Which, in this case, happened. The lose yourself part.
We got home.
One more thing. I’m watching ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and the doctor is telling John, “You can’t reason your way out of this!”. Almost verbatim to my doctor telling me “You can’t smart your way out of this.” Meaning, the anxiety.
But, I’ve made so much progress.
I can drive home.
I can drive to work.
I still do the rituals – my OCD is not going to leave me soon, but will.
I ask myself, things like: How many times have you HIT a coyote?
How many times have you been in a crash?
How many times has a steer or rock fell off of the pass onto the road (yes, I thought about those things.)
I used logic, even while panicking.
I still acknowledge the unknown, as well as the very known – every cross on that road I take twice a day – but, now I make things practical in my head.
I don’t know what my friend went through in her last days, but I’m betting she didn’t see a light. I’m betting no phone call or visit would have changed her state of mind.
I am here.
I want to be here.
I am making strives without medicinal help.
And – Bye for NOW.
I have a sparrow annoyed with me.
Its previous nest is blocked (literally, with … blocks) and alights on the wind chime directly in front of me and chirps and chirps.
I pretend I understand. I pretend it understands me and I say things like, “Yes, I know!” “Yes, I’m sorry.” “I will build you a home, but it can’t be there.”
Well, today was the day.
Butters had me up twice in the night – she’s not getting any younger and it worries me when she’s out of sorts.
I got completely up at 5. (Meaning, I had the wherewithal to use all of my faculties at the same time.)
The land around was enticing.
Tangent: I was sharing with a friend yesterday that, while I was glad it was Friday, it was suddenly again Friday. Life is just ticking away! Every single day, should count. So, that in mind, make the moments count right?
Sunrise hike was in order!
A grainy picture of the first of many.
A less grainy picture of the same spot with more light.
Somehow ‘grainier’ photo of the same place in more light.
Sun coming up.
And some pretentious ‘artistic’ shots.
Mysterious alien circle or … maybe a tire was there for a while.
On the way back.
Butters was exhausted (and, shaking which was scary).
Then came part two. Gardening.
Gardening is so relaxing and rewarding – is a sentence I will NEVER say. LOL!
My mother, my Grandmother, my Son are all excellent gardeners. They have thumbs greener than envy.
I reluctantly do it and have little to no expectations of survival.
I could probably, literally, waltz by a plant and have an adverse effect on it.
However, as Jeff Goldblum will attest to, “Life, um, finds a way.”
New ‘cones’ on the Pine trees.
Strawberry basket still blooming.
My onions, (that I planted entirely too close to each other) survived the snow!
Freshly transplanted Malabar Spinach. God be with you – because, you can’t count on me.
My potatoes are thriving on top. God only knows what’s going on where they are supposed to be growing.
Alright, so, now to the bird box. And, as this picture shows, apparently I have no problems growing weeds/grass. But, this was what I collected from the barn to create my promise.
Had some problems but, managed somehow.
Open for business.
I was trying to be funny on my page – and how the f&$* did Facebook turn it into an ad??? Anyway, I guess if you can fit in there, I can let you rent it.
Thing is – the bush to the left of it used to be peppered with birds. Now, they’re wary. Only had a couple show up at the open house. And one assumed that the beverages were included.
I may have scared them off rather than made amends.
It finds a way – and – finds a way out.
Navigating blocks & Desert Gardening
Okay! Well, this is a turn. WordPress went and changed on me. Has it really been that long since I posted? I am faced with a screen (literally) telling me they welcome me to the ‘wonderful world of blocks!’ WTF? Alright, I’ll bite. We’ll try this. (I didn’t read the directions – and evidently, ‘see next tip’ might be part of a direction. I have not clicked on it.) I’ll pout for about a minute, then click it.
Evidently the tip was ‘Add title’. Wasn’t it just easier before when I had that at the top?
This whole blog is going a different direction. LOL!
Want to share my past week with y’all, as we never say in rural desert land.
Damn. There are more plus signs on this version than any of my school tests. I’m giggling. This thing is writing itself.
Okay, pressed enter and we seem safe enough to begin what I intended to write.
Oh, no. ‘start writing or type/to choose a block.
What is a block?????
Shall I try it?
Okay, so, a ‘block’ is either another paragraph, media or … a bunch of other stuff.
I truly had this down, didn’t need remedial directions. But, thanks I guess?
Let’s being shall we?
That, my friends, was a block. I’m literally laughing out loud now. Sorry, I can’t get over this. When did this happen??????????????????????? Why was it needed?
I wanted to chat about my rural adventures. And, I shall.
So, last weekend, my brother-in-law was in town visiting.
Here’s us. Me, “look guys! It’s our last name!” Them: We shall look off into the distance and be majestic.
Truth be told, my long underwear was pink and I looked like a hermit crab without a shell. Have you ever seen that?? I have. My son used to have some and anytime they shed their shell, they wouldn’t make it into the plethora of ‘new choices’ and end up all crabby and shriveled and pinkish – kinda like a toe that had been in the bath too long and, yeah. Then, they died. I survived obviously, but did change this pic to black and white. Because, ew, shriveled hermit crab legs.
Let’s get back to rural living eh?
My guy went shopping and brought home some new plants.
Butters checked them out, approved and moved along.
Then came the day I lost any kind of ‘girly’ I had remaining on my hands. We gardened.
Wait! FIRST! I had cleaned the kitchen and cleaned. Let’s talk about this ‘life hack’. Fabric softener sheets on grease.
I took the oven top completely apart. Then soaked the um, thingies, in the sheets.
Worked fine for the ones that had seen less combat. But, after pouring boiling water on the other ones, still had remnants, so, I’m giving that experiment a 5 out of 10. Oh, and about the boiling, yes, I had to be creative because, after all, my stove was in fact ‘apart’.
But! Here’s a very clean oven and some quiches I made.
Plus, a Mexican lasagna.
So, I was Ms. Clean and cook. THEN the plants needed attention.
I know how to plant a tree. And, easy peel navel orange tree needed introducing into our world.
I wanted to do it – after successful trees at my other home, but, my guy is a go-getter and my non-girly hands had already suffered many blows. Go ahead.
Prior to all of this – you’re probably not going to be able to sleep wondering how my phalanges lost their decorative claws. So, here are the planters that were meticulously made by (not me.)
I added the flowers. I’m nothing if not a team player. (insert squinting laughing emoji here).
We also (he) planted more potatoes.
And we added to our seedlings.
I’d like to share now, after (unsuccessfully searc;hing for the spell check feature) that you can flip back and forth from ‘Block’ to ‘Document’. So – there’s a thing I learned.
In between writing this thrilling post, I bathed Butters. Which, brings me to my next set of pics.
I am trying to get her out and about more. Because I hadn’t already done enough yesterday, I decided to hike with her into what we call ‘the square’.
She did very good at ‘wait’. (Mostly when she was navigating areas like a freaking mountain goat, and I was trying not to lose my balance/teeth/in tact bones.)
Okay! Let’s go!
Very deep hoof imprints! Must have been muddy when that happened.
Always something captures my attention – this was hard to take with Butters excited about moving on.
A moment of “Wait!”. (This was before I fell on my arse because she was mountain goating.)
Another pretty spot – still don’t know how I managed this shot either. I think she was being very good at “Wait!”
It was only after getting home and reviewing pictures that I found this amusing and was a tad confused. I think it’s a feather? But, by happenstance, looks like – well, um, anything you can conjure up lol!
She handled it regardless.
I let her lead the way – and she was sure to mark plenty of territory. Hopefully won’t be long before she can be off leash, at least there. But, with coyotes, steer, burros and snakes – not sure I want her to have that much freedom.
She’s definitely living her ‘best life’ out here though.
Not living on a ‘block’ anymore.
(See how I tied that in? Brilliant.)
The Grand Solar Minimum … in Arizona – and Clem.
Oh Clem. I’m still mourning him.
I originally created him with only a little mouth and two little rock eyes.
My husband insisted he at least have arms.
Here he was at his best – happy! I mean, after all, it was his birthday! (Snowday?)
I woke this morning with trepidation, was Clem still around???
He was, but, the weight of the snow had laden his arms, and he looked a lot less happy.
Clem had seen some shit.
I arrive home tonight and … Rest in Pieces dear Clem.
All joking aside (and, I’m really not joking about the loss of my inanimate snowman, you know me by now) is that this snowfall was bonkers.
It all started on Wednesday when snow (Blizzard) was expected.
You all know also by now that I have a fear of my drive and beating the storm was top priority for me and arriving home beforehand.
I received messages from my (should have been a meteorologist) husband, predicting (once again true) the weather.
I left work early.
Woke the next day in the dark, and peered out the window – and … WOW! Yes! A snow day!
Texted my bosses, who already had a heads-up. Nope, to the nopety nope, I would not be navigating ‘the pass’.
My first photos sucked. But, then daylight arrived and I went for a little walk. I realize I sound like Darth Vader (it was SO very cold), but also please listen for the crunching of snow, because, that’s what I had forgotten the sound of!!!! Fresh snow, fresh footprints – complete and utter white out!!!
I felt like a kid!
A SNOW DAY!
Butters enjoyed it too – she was frisky. (This, the dog who would not go outside in the rain a couple years ago to pee. (Thank Gawd that’s changed.)
So it was on! Bring it!
Hubby was home, fire was stoked and Butters happy.
Here’s some more pics of the rare day.
OH! SO glad I planted when I did. (Insert sarcasm here) But, it was a beautiful day.
I say that, but honestly, after a walk and many photos – it was just very white, wet and repetitive and I couldn’t stop thinking about how behind I was at work.
I went in early today – and navigated ice and ‘previous tire tracks’ (which is a thing) and totally appreciated the beauty of our area. The mountains were majestic – and I would love to show you them, but, I kept two hands on the wheel!
When it’s in the 120’s I’ll look back on this post and appreciate how cold my fingers were whilst scraping my car’s windshield. I’ll appreciate putting a jacket on – and I’ll look back on this beauty in awe!