Opportunity to be Blessed

I share this not for a pat on the back, but to point out how attitude is everything.  I have found myself slipping in that area and must be mindful – today was a reminder.

Ran out to our local Dollar General (you know, that place where nothing is a dollar) for some bits and bobs because I did not want to go into ‘town’.

I’m in line and to my right it became clear,  was a man (with three little ones) having issues at the register.

I hear, “Sorry” a few times and step in.

Me: How short are you? (Because we’ve all been there right?)

Him: Oh, it’s not that – they can’t change a hundred.

Me: I can do that for you. (Because for one day I could after receiving a recompense.)

Him: Thank you so much!

I return to placing my items on the counter and hear him talking to his checkout person.

Them: Sorry about that.

Him: No worries, I had an opportunity to be blessed.  Everything happens for a reason.

Wow.  An opportunity to be blessed.  I’m so stubborn, I don’t allow such opportunities.  I DO count my blessings.  But, to hear it put that way – just – wow.

He had three very patient, well-behaved kidlets who now didn’t have to be dragged to one of our rural gas stations to get change then return to the shop for their suspended sale.

He wasn’t inconvenienced.  He was calm and kind and ushered his little herd out the door with a “Thank you again.”

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Now I’ll share a little about the drive to the shop.

I’ve alluded to how rural we are – and how dangerous the highway that splits our town in two is.

Apparently a little more dangerous further you go up the hill according to this sign.  Yes, it’s real – yes, I took this pic.  (I was a passenger at the time, let’s not dilute my ongoing rant with ‘But you took a pic while driving).

Back to the route at hand,

I mean, you have to be on point!  Guessing what the ‘non-locals’ may potentially do.  (Unfortunately, locals too.)

There are OH so many crosses up and down the road, the pass and the grade,  I’ve memorized most of them.  You’d think that would serve as foreshadowing to the drivers that I encounter, sadly they don’t.

So, ‘heading out to the shop’ is not as simple as it might be elsewhere.

If you so much as see a rabbit running across the road in front of you – there must be a thought process.

  1. Is it running FROM something?  Should I expect to break for a coyote?
  2. Is there a car behind me?  (Okay, that should be number 1 probably)
  3. Can I brake in time to avoid a collision, or do I need a plan b and where may I swerve safely?

We literally have signs.

BIG highway signs lit up asking the driver to take: CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! Watch for animals!

Smaller signs:

 

That’s just when encountering a critter.

Then comes the actual road – and bonkers traffic.  Timing is everything.

I’ve learned to turn off my ‘give a fuck’ about people behind me at a stop sign.  I am NOT going until I am certain I can safely navigate the turn onto the highway.

I’ve been honked at once, and wanted to bolt out of the car and remind them about the crosses.  Go ahead, go around me – take your chances, and chances are when you’re hit, I’ll still stop and help you.  But, let’s avoid all of that and just chill the heck out!

Back to the animals, says the Queen of Tangents.

I seriously need glasses.

On the way to work Friday I saw someone switch to the left lane for no apparent reason ahead of me.

I squint and think to myself, “Is that a person?”  (On the side of the road, not the lane switcher LOL).

Now, I’ve known for a while I need glasses.  But when you have a laundry list of things you need, somethings that are important start sliding down that list.

I squint harder … “Is that a bush?”

I squint harder, now practically on TOP of the ‘thing’ – “Oh … a cow.”

A large, uninterested, grass filled mouthed cow.  In the ‘bicycle’ lane (I don’t know what it’s technically called out here) of our very dangerous highway.

I would love to tell you there was a great amount of distance between my first guess and my realization, but there was not.

Obviously doesn’t help my commute that I can’t SEE – so I may have to bump that up the list.

But, what I did see today – gratitude and calmness – was enough to open my eyes and return me to a mindset of the same.

Maybe that needs to be on a sign too.  Although, some would probably pay as much attention to it as they do the others.

I’ll just keep my eyes on my own paper and try to practice it myself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday Homestead Shoot

There are days I wish we lived closer to ‘town’ – but mostly, I’m so grateful for our privacy, land and peaceful hearts.

I see beauty in everything.  I look for good everywhere.  Even the most simple of things stun me and fill my heart with appreciation.

Without further ado, (okay, a little more ‘ado’ because this meme cracks me up whenever I see it).

I present to you the scenes and views that captured my eyes and heart today.

The monarch I fished out a pool of water drying off for it’s flight.

The shadows from this aloe reminded me of Wilson’s hair from Castaway.

Because we all need some backbone no?

Sun

Butters making sure her shadow doesn’t escape. She’s no Pei-Pan. Keep a foot on it!

Our vegetable garden (which consists only of onions currently) with the bamboo fencing splaying it’s shadows across the dirt.

Aforementioned bamboo with our namesake sign

Listening to the real homesteader chopping wood

Only caged bird on the property – cage door is open though. Even faux birds deserve a chance to be free

Old outdoor sink and plenty of wood

Our gorgeous Palo Verdes and Mesquite trees

The newly finished culvert and rock work

The sun outshining my inner culvert shot

More rock work and view to other side of culvert

Wild desert ‘creek’

Shadow play – and future site of a bridge

Beautiful steps

The wood eater

 

Bottom line is that there is not a direction I can turn without feeling awe and gratitude.

 

 

Musings after doing laundry: Rain, Fog and Anxiety edition

I’m baaaaack!  Why?

“It is the year, 2019” (said in Morgan Freeman voice) and I have my first EVER laptop.  No more stressing over my keyboard vs blue tooth connections – no more trying to tap out a post like morse code.

I, am at home and able to type this on an amazing machine.

Oh what a relief.  I have so very much missed writing.  And talking to you Soupers!

This post contains graphic anxiety so if you have triggers – stop reading.  Also, if you have rain, flash floods, commute or coyote phobias – not the one for you.

I’ll begin repeating myself shall I?

I moved to a very rural area and have a long commute now.  But, the land, the man and the hiking is worth it.  I am very grateful and know how blessed I am.

It’s ours.  Okay, it’s the bank’s – but, we’re not renting.

Here’s the deal though.  We live on a ‘Turn around don’t drown’ road.

This has mostly not been an issue.

We have monsoon season, which has kindly occurred mostly on weekends in the summer.  (Shout out to those storms dodging work days!  Whoop!)

But then came ‘the day’.

It was before the day I’m going to talk about.

Our neighbor gave me a map.  How very mysterious.  But, actually, he was looking out for me.  ‘Back Road Map’.  When would I use this?  When would I need this?   I was fine with my route.

Oh lord.  The day I first used it I figured all of that out and was so VERY grateful.

I’ll now just leap into what happened the other day shall I?

It was a foggy morn’ … arrived at my turn onto the highway with almost zero visibility.

(This is where I reiterate how this commute on a GOOD day is scary for me.  I have literally driven shaking, almost losing my vision, heart pounding, can’t feel my limbs, feeling ‘out of self’.)

I watched for headlights – waited – saw an ‘in’ and pulled out.

AND – some asshat didn’t have their headlights on.

They braked, I almost had a heart attack.

Going forward – heart pounding – and next fear comes true.  Coyote crosses road.

I safely navigated it and kept on going.

Long story short, I made it to work, going 45-50 in a 65 zone.

Rained ALL day.

We are … um, the ‘rain catchers’ of the area.  The mountains above us drain on down.

So, when my honey told me, rain is stopping, you should be okay, I believed it.

What I didn’t take into consideration was how long it takes for those long showers to make it down.

Here’s video one.

At this point I’m thinking, “Well, I’ve gunned it through heartier.  But, after seeing trucks turn around, I’m nope to the nopety nope.”

I first text my boss who asked me to let her know when I got home.

“I’m stuck on my road and shaking.”

I then call my husband.

“OK. I’m coming down.”

“You made a very good decision not crossing that.”

Great.

He can’t save me.  So, I turn around, ready to do the ‘back roads’ with that map in my 4 wheel drive amazing truck … wait …

Off road car YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not.

Then, this …

Remember, I’ve come this far right? I can go back, do the highway, take those back roads.  So, I turn around Aaaaand ….

I am now stuck between two washes.

I just want to go HOME!

I DID gun it through that one.  Shamefully I’ll admit, wasn’t the most dangerous decision I have made, but completely stupid.

I got to the highway and THIS highway (as if I haven’t made it clear enough) is so super dangerous.

I need the next left for my ‘map’ directions.

Almost got nailed doing that.

Next part, I’ll be the first to admit was fun, if danger was not a factor.

I slid, I slid and slid and … learned to get out of past tracks.

My poor car lol!  It’s not built for that.

Good thing it is a shift – and I could downshift.

And, that last track home made me smile.  (Only, I wish it happened in a jeep lol.)

I made it.

Now, here’s some pics of what the rain does to our land.

Yeah, roses are pretty watered.

The morning ‘weather is going to suck’ fog.

There used to be mountains?

Our parking area today.  (Yes, I’m lucky.)  But, you can see the wetness,  I share this post knowing my husband will be in Chicago soon and I can’t even imagine being there during adverse conditions! Me: Boo! Look what the rain did!

Him: (I’m making this up) I can’t feel my fucking face here.

 

So! There you go.  Stay warm.  Stay dry. Stay a Souper!

Hello!

Moved! Steep Grades and a Special Neighbor.

Well, it’s been a week since I’ve moved into my new home!

Yes, I had that exhale moment.

Still have a lot to do – but for all intents and purposes, we’re moved!!!

I’ve been adjusting to the longer commute, that just happens to be on a road they literally test vehicles on.  No kidding – Ford brings their trucks covered in sensors and hauling tons of weight and drive up and down the grade.  (Here’s an old article about this HERE.)

On the side of the road there are jugs of water that good Samaritans have left for struggling vehicles of the non-test type.

Regular commuters know that the air conditioning needs to be off for the majority of the trip, which, in triple digits can be quite taxing.  And when I say taxing, I mean, sheets of sweat, wet undergarments and complete loss of electrolytes.

Once that hill has been taken though, it’s worth the while.

Let’s get onto introducing you to one of my neighbors.

I say neighbor, but, it’s more like … um … a land mate?  Pet?

I’ll begin with our introduction.

I was sitting on the porch, enjoying a light breeze in the early evening.  Rose bushes were rustling, pine trees pining.  I had a hose running to water the length of the thirsty trees and looked over to check on the progress.

To my surprise, atop the picnic table was  – well … take a look yourself.

I slowly got up and put my dog inside the house.  I then calmly stated, “Um, honey?  There’s a snake on the table.”

Now, I have been aware in my 15 years in the desert that the territory comes with desert creatures.  I’ve had my run ins with an assortment of them.  But, not a snake.

I’m actually quite fond of them.  Had wanted one years ago.

But, considering our location, not all snakes want to be your friend.

My honey came out and we watched from a distance to make sure there was no rattle.  Then, got a little closer to assess the head shape.

He went in as my fascination grew.

Snake (I’ve since named Yogi – because, c’mon, pic-i-nic table!) came closer.  I grew braver.

And, closer still, into the rose bushes.

I followed Yogi around for a while, until it moved off into another lot.

 

I reached out and posted photos to a snake site.  I was informed it is a non-venomous gopher snake, good to have around!  I was also taught that if I needed it to scoot, I could spray it lightly with a hose.

I fretted a little about it interacting with my pup.  I certainly don’t want to have my time outside or hers dictated by our new friend.   Still haven’t quite worked that out yet.  (Any advice is welcome!)

Following night, we were outside when my guy announced, “Your friend is back.”  Sure enough.

 

 

This is such a low-key snake.  I mean, you can literally walk next to it.

But, the issue of the dog.  So, with Butters inside, I decided to try the spritz method.  It worked.  Yogi went back under the fence and curled up and cut its eyes at me.  Had a look of complete inconvenience and indignation.  To add insult to moisture, two sparrows alighted upon the fence and looked down upon Yogi.  I entrusted them to keep watch.

 

SO!  What to do, what to do?!  I’m an animal lover so definitely harming one is out.  Relocating it would be useless as it’s bound to be replaced by another – I mean, we have nothing but desert next to us and own 2.15 acres of it ourselves.

Must find a way to cohabitate.

I guess I’ll have plenty of time to consider just how to do that during my commute.