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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.

 

Part Two:

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.

 

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Birdhouse

I have a sparrow annoyed with me.

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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.

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A less grainy picture of the same spot with more light.

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Somehow ‘grainier’ photo of the same place in more light.

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Sun coming up.

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And, brighter.

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Butters

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And some pretentious ‘artistic’ shots.

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Mysterious alien circle or … maybe a tire was there for a while.

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On the way back.

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Butters was exhausted (and, shaking which was scary).

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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.

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Strawberry basket still blooming.

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My onions, (that I planted entirely too close to each other) survived the snow!

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Freshly transplanted Malabar Spinach.  God be with you – because, you can’t count on me.

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My potatoes are thriving on top.  God only knows what’s going on where they are supposed to be growing.

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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.

 

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Had some problems but, managed somehow.

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Open for business.

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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.

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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.

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I may have scared them off rather than made amends.

Makes sense.

Life.

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?

Me this morning – #nofilter (lol) Seriously though – just really good light and black and white.

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.

Watering time.

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!”

Waiting.

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.)

Planting, hiking and snow?

In the past 4 days we’ve been through such a variance of weather.  From flooding to fog to a ‘nice’ day to … snow.

 

 

 

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Ug.

 

 

Trekking Poles and Guilt – also, ‘leg day’

To say our hike Saturday had its ups and downs would be a pretty fair assessment of the adventure.

I was excited about where we were going for a few reasons, one of them being it was the place I saw my first tarantulas over 15 years ago.  (Still very hard to believe this fair English native, then Central Coast California transplant has been in the desert that long!)

And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.

We’ll touch back on that in a while.

Anyway,  I’ve been chomping at the bit to capture wildlife on my camera.  So far, lizards, butterflies, burros, cattle and long-horned sheep – but my secret deep down wish was to snap a close up of a scorpion or an arachnid and yes, even a snake.  Oh, trust me, the zoom lens would be the key there!  I’m wishful but would also not like to trust my snake guards that we wear to such an extent.

We arrived at Grapevine Canyon and my first mistake?  I wore a cotton t-shirt.  (Why oh why do they give those away at 5K events?  Cotton is not conducive to a comfy hike or run.)  I am usually sporting wicking wear, and I’ll have you know that I’ve successfully completed all previous hikes sans sweat.  So, that either means that I didn’t push myself hard enough or … seriously, cotton is not the ideal choice.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m the Queen of Tangents, you’ll have to bear with me.

We arrive.

I don my pack and my snake guards and … my gift from my guy, trekking poles.

Another tangent.  When we return from hiking, he’s sore. He, with the Popeye calves.  He who can not only put his hands on the ground in a straight legged position, but also touch his forehead to his legs.  I, on the other hand, feel no pain upon return – nor the following day.  (Also can’t do any of those things.)

This weekend?  It hurt to squat to reach the toilet seat lol!  ‘Leg day’ happened.

We started out past the tourists who were there for the petroglyphs and the waterfall.

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Surpassed them and began our trek.

Me, clumsy  and awkward with my poles.  My honey a little frustrated because he’d put so much thought into buying them for me.  And, no, it does not escape me that he bought them for me because he wants to spend time with me.  It also doesn’t escape me that he bought them because he loves them and wants me to have the same experience.  So, I felt like an asshole and here’s why.

The terrain he fell in love with them for was the Pacific Crest Trail, so not only was that ideal for that, but he had MILES to become acquainted until they were like additional limbs.  Me?  I’m trying to snap pictures, which meant holding them in one hand or putting them down, and it seemed every time I did that, he happened to turn around.  I felt awful.  A gift not being utilized as intended.

We carried on.

Now might be a great time to mention that my guy also has experience rock climbing.  Serious rock climbing.  And, after the birth of my son I was suddenly scared of heights.  And we were high.

I say this because he was like a freaking mountain goat and I kept being told, “Stay perpendicular!” This, after a particular steep rock with nothing to cling to.  Thing is about such a rock, once you’re half way up, you’re kinda screwed.

It’s either, A) Have faith in  the experts and just keep scaling without looking down and pray you don’t fall to your death or B) Get chastised for wanted to be on all fours.  OR C) F#@* this, I know my limits and THIS isn’t happening today.

Well, it happened.

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I am not going to lie (again) I was terrified.  Literally.  What I wanted to do was that dramatic, “Go on without me … save yourself with this hike and I’ll wait.”  What I did?  I kept going.

And the psychosomatic part of it is that if a hand is held out, you tend to suddenly become invincible without putting too much weight on said hand.  It’s just the knowledge that someone has your back and is there to assist that tends to erase a majority of the worry.

Okay, so now I’m up.  And ‘height’ phobia cracks in.  I swear, I couldn’t even count how many times I heard, “This part is steep, but after this!  It evens out.”

I always want to impress my guy, I also always want to live.

We kept going.

And, OH. MY. GAWD.

The day was perfect.  The juxtaposition of desert meets … rustling trees … meets water?  lol, was awesome!

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An egg … I didn’t touch.

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Crunching on leaves was bizarre!

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Look easier than they were to navigate – but I nailed it.  Thought of the Olympics and wanted to do a back flip and land it – then remembered I couldn’t even touch my hands to the floor straight legged lol.

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The rustling tree.  Was breezy for a bit. (Thank goodness for my pits lol!  Remember, cotton … not conducive.)

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Just … beauty in everything.

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Zoomed in – this was my elephant rock.

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This was my heavy-headed person resting their forehead on the peak.

 

This was freaking AWESOME!  The curves get slimmer and slimmer to the point that yes, (OH, Yay!) You have to climb out of it.  I think this, and the slides back down due to complete water smoothing (imagine a rock slide!) were my favorite parts.

We ended our hike on a flat rock and chatted.

Here’s where I touch on the beginning.

“And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.”

Begun.

I said to my honey at one point, “You’re really good at a lot of things, but I’m just a beginner.”

And as we sat on that rock, he apologized for any impatience.   But, the truth of it was that he was NOT impatient.  Or, I didn’t read it that way.

He pushed me for sure – seeing things in me I didn’t.  Seeing me capable and cheering me on the whole time.  Mostly during our exit when I took a total (on purpose) slide down a steep rock – and it was fun!!!!!

He doesn’t coddle me.  But, he does pay attention, even with his back to me.  (Dad eyes in the back of his head lol!)  And always has just the RIGHT way to encourage me to be a better version of myself.

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Extras!  Me the next day with my burros!  (With the right gear on, but we ended up napping at his home. lol!)

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This was Sunday, and we violated a mine – NOT ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s for sale!  And, um, saw this a little too late.

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Lastly, some fun pics.

Wait!! Wouldn’t be complete without those trekking poles. xxxx

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