Monday, November 30, 2015

Lucky or Loosers

Crescent City is a bit of an enigma. I'm not the first person to arrive here in awe of the trees, the ocean view and the crystal blue of the Smith River, nor am I the first to notice the community of homeless who live in the woods behind Walmart and panhandle on the corners or the rows of empty businesses downtown. When my hubby and I first arrived here, my daughter and her hubby drove us to Endert's Beach Lookout. I was overwhelmed. I cried. I hugged her. I asked if I can really live here or do I have to go "home", which was silly, because "home" was sold. Here is the lookout at Endert's Beach. That's Crescent City on the horizon.

I haven't lived here long enough to know Crescent City in its heyday, though I've learned it had one. It has a logging history. People remember logging trucks piled so high they would practically run you off the road. Downtown was the home to many thriving businesses. At some point the logging stopped (there are still busy mills in Brookings and Eureka), and then the Tsunami hit. It was 1964, and Alaska had an 8.8 earthquake. The residents were warned, but complacent because they said nothing ever happened in the past. It was a cruel lesson in not second-guessing nature. 11 people died.
LA Times 1964 video of Crescent City

There was another Tsunami on March 11, 2011 because of the earthquake in Japan. My daughter lived here by that time. Warning systems and wiser people saved lives. Only one person was swept away, some man who rushed down to the beach to take photos.
Time-lapse video by engineering group

Only the downtown business area is within the Tsunami Zone. A few residences and apartments are within the zone as well, but most residences are above the Zone and safe. (Scroll down when the map opens to view the city).
Tsunami Zone.PDF

Apparently the town leaders had settled into complacency....everything is fine just the way it is, don't change anything. Environmentalists had the loudest words when it came to changing anything, including bypassing Last Chance Grade..."leave it alone, if it falls into the ocean, so be it, just don't cut a single Redwood to bypass it". Last Chance Grade is about 10 miles south of town on 101 where the side of the mountain is trying to slide into the ocean. It did in 1945 (I believe) and took a family down with it.

By the power of social media, I am happy to say that thinking has been changed. Someone had an idea, and created a Facebook group. The group grew to nearly 2,000 Crescent City residents in two weeks. The group has become a voice for the city, and has lit a fire under our leader's asses. It was only a short time before Real Estate agents, City Planners and other Movers and Shakers got on board. The group urges residents to attend meetings, and they have.

We also support Caltrans regarding Last Chance Grade and told the state of California we want a Safe Bypass even though it means cutting out a swath of Redwoods. Without 101 there is no way to access Crescent City from the south. We would be cut off. A Bypass had been in the works for years, but nothing was moving just stopped, stagnate and squashed under the protests of the environmentalists.

Now don't get me wrong, I am an environmentalist, but I'm not stuck in Stupid Mode, either. There needs to be balance.

Some of the things the group has inspired, supported or helped push forward:

Beautifying the Beach Front park
A concert to raise money to build a Dog Park
Possible Band Shell in the Beach Front Park center
Reopening of Glenn's Bakery in 3 months
A new Pub
A new Cafe in the harbor
The re-opening of Tsunami Lanes bowling alley
Promoting The Lighthouse Repertory Theater
Promoting local business and shopping local

Homeless people and bums are a long-term issue we are trying to figure out how to address.

So, to date, this is my adventure, where I live with my dear hubby. He has a good job, one of the few in town. He would like more shopping nearby, maybe to live in a bigger city, but he doesn't really want to change jobs. There are few doctors here and no specialists. We have a small hospital. People drive 111 miles to Medford, Oregon to see a specialist. Our little airport currently only has prop-job flights to and from Portland, Oregon and Life Flight Air Ambulance to major hospitals. I don't know what the future will bring, but for now we are here, maybe permanently, maybe not. Right now I feel like one of the Lucky ones.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Not Midnight Yet

I can't sleep. Well, I slept some, and then I woke up. Hubby is still sleeping. He has a long day of work ahead. My alarm is set for 4 AM. We had a nice day today. It was another sunny Sunday. We drank coffee in Brookings and did a little shopping. Hubby bought me pretty flowers. It was "reminiscent day", I guess, because we both started talking about when we first met, and our fun times in Kosovo.

It's been very cold. We've had frost on the roof and cars, even on the grass, every night all week. It's supposed to cloud up at midnight. I looked out the second story spare bedroom window and could see the moon and Orion. So far my succulents have been fine with a sheet of plastic over them. This cold is unusual. December is supposed to be warmer.

Tuesday is December, so I am going to try to do a quick "Ten on Tuesday" on Sunday night. My subject is:

Ten Things I Would Change

1. Windows....I would like more of them, and some facing south.
2. More sun....on sunny days I am in the shadow of other buildings here at Seawood.
3. Lower rent or buy....too much $$ goes for rent.
4. My job....I am planning to quit Walmart the end of this month. That's one down.
5. My health....stress levels, they go down on my days off, up on the days I work.
6. My diet...more home cooking, more veggies.
7. Local groups....have Saturdays off to join in on a "Cash Mob"
8. Photography....again, another local group...enjoy a Saturday Photo Shoot with the online group members.
9. Volunteering....another local Facebook group, active in promoting our city and getting projects started, chance to meet people, make friends.
10. More time for hubby, home evenings, cooking food we both enjoy, doing things together.

Numbers 4 through 10 will fall into place when I quit working. Hubby can take the car or I can pick him up. No more walking home in the dark or in the rain, or riding his bike in the rain. Better for both of us. If you are wondering what a "Cash Mob" is, that's when an event is planned where people show up with at least $20 to spend at a local business. It's part of the group I mentioned in # 9.

Here are the pretty flowers hubby bought me. The red Cyclamen flowers look like hearts to me :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I Called Off

My neck and shoulder hurt so much I have little to no mobility, so I called off. That will give me 3 days off before I work again. They have me scheduled for 4 days in a row. Judging from the intense jabbing in my neck and shoulder, I'll probably use up some more of my sick time. They also have me scheduled for Sunday, December 13 and there is no way that is happening. I have 10 hours sick time, that means I can cover 20 hours of missed work, because Walmart only pays out 1/2 of the day you lost.

I feel sorry for my co-workers. Many of them have worked there for years, and will continue to do so, because there are not a lot of opportunities here. It's amazing how the Walton family, worth more than $148 Billion, has decided to cut hours, cut bonus amounts and cut discounts since giving employees a raise. California already had a $9 minimum wage law in effect when Walmart decided to raise everyone in all states to $9 per hour.

They have also cut bonus amounts. In the years 2013 and 2014, my daughter received $1455 and $1487 respectively. 2015 will end with only $725 in my daughter's pocket, even though she worked hard, even harder than most. Every year a discount card is given to employees who work on Thanksgiving. It can be combined with the 10% discount card every employee receives after working 3 months. In the past, the Thanksgiving discount was 20%. This year it's 15%.

Walmart "lost control" over employee attendance when California mandated sick leave, and let me tell you, people use it. With fewer and fewer associates on the floor at any given time, those of us who are there must cover 2 or 3 departments. Employees burn out when there are more managers in the store than associates, so they call off. Customers are constantly frustrated because they can't find someone to help them. 30% of our bonus is tied to customer satisfaction. Well, duh.

Furthermore, there seems to be a growing sentiment against shopping on Thanksgiving Day. It would be nice if Walmart dropped the "Black Friday event from 6 pm to 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day". I'm sure Walmart will be disappointed at how slow the event was. Event items are still available in the store today. I did not see any associates with happy faces that day. Mostly they were frustrated, tired and overworked. There were not many people following the "Ten foot rule" that evening. What is that, you ask? Any time an associate is within 10 feet of a customer they are supposed to cheerfully say hello and walk over to help them, asking, "Are you finding everything you need today?" I break that rule anytime someone is sick and coughing and sneezing. I also break it when I see old farts looking for a chance to talk to a blonde. There's a difference between looking like you need help and looking like you want to break the ice.

Well, I'm trying to loosen up my neck and shoulder. I'm going to call it "Walmart Whiplash" because other people get it too, maybe not as severe. It's a nice sunny day, cold, but sunny. I'm going to go bake some bread.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

We celebrated yesterday, because I was off and my hubby was working a short day, and my daughter and her hubby get off work at 2 pm. We had a great time. Hubby had today off. It was sunny, so we took a walk in Tolowa Dunes. We got back in time to eat leftovers and then I had to go to work. This was the first time EVER that I was in a store for Black Friday. Walmart starts Black Friday at 6 pm on Thursday. I was only there 4 and 1/2 hours. It wasn't too bad. People asked me a lot of questions I couldn't answer, because I lost my list. I could hardly read it anyway, because it was such tiny print and faded. People were polite, no pushing and shoving. All my co-workers looked really tired. Some had been there since noon and some had to stay until midnight.

Here are some pictures from today:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vitamin D and Sundays Make Me...Happy

I haven't been sick!! Yay. I have dodged the sneezing, coughing customers as usual but since I started taking the Vitamin D I have remained healthy. The only side effect appears to be gas. I hate that, but it's better than the horrible colds I was catching every time someone sneezed.

Being Sunday, hubby and I both had the day off. We did some work and cleaning in the garage. I needed a hole drilled in a pot I'm using for succulents. I planted a succulent in a pot I bought at Safeway, but since it had no drainage, my succulent was suffering. Here is my "Zen pot" before drainage. I removed the plant and set the pot aside until today.

Hubby started with the cup on the right, as a test, but the concrete drill bit was going nowhere. Judging from the dent it made, this was going to take all day. So hubby bought a spendy diamond tip bit. It went through like butter. It all goes to show, Diamonds are a pot's best friend. Now I can re-plant the succulent in the Zen pot and I have a cup to plant as well. Yay!

As I was sweeping our mostly empty garage, I mentioned to hubby how sunny it was in there. This time of the year the sun at "high noon" looks like 10 am, but it's a perfect angle to warm up the south-facing garage. Two lawn chairs, a table, music on the car radio (my car has awesome speakers), maybe the grill out on the driveway, and we have a party spot! I might even string up some party lights. Hey, it's a big room and the car isn't in it...why not. If you are wondering why the car isn't in it, there is no automatic opener, so it's a pain in the butt.

Later we drove to Brookings. I bought Crocus bulbs. I love Crocus and was delighted to find out they grow here. I snapped this shot with my cell phone on the way home. It was a pretty day. Having Sundays together is wonderful.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The ABCs of Me

Ok, A :-), I accept the challenge! She posted this on her blog so I will give it a go.

A - Age. Not telling, but old enough to have white hair but too young to care. Means what, I don't know, but it rhymes.
B - Biggest Fear. Spider webs. Closest explanation is one I got from my mother, when I was an infant she found me tangled in the threads of an unraveled silk ribbon from a blanket. I was "trapped" by fine silk threads, and screaming.
C - Current Time. 10:14 am
D - Drink you last had. Coffee. I love coffee in the morning but none in the afternoon as it keeps me awake until 3 am.
E - Easiest person to talk to. My youngest daughter. We have been "besties" for years.
F - Favorite Song. It depends on my mood and what I'm listening to at the time. I really love, "Try" by Pink.

 First time I heard it my hubby was driving me around Prishtina at night. The windows were rolled down and the breeze was warm with a million stars in the sky. We went for coffee at Germia Park. We did that often, and heard that song often. My hubby loves it, too. Strong memories of one of the best times of my life.
G - Grossest Memory. I must block them out.
H - Hometown. I was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts but my parents moved to California when I was 2. I spent 41 years in the Midwest and moved back to California.
I - In Love With. My Husband. People often think he's my boyfriend, maybe because we don't act like old bored married people. I see them at work often, the wife barking orders at the husband, and he obeys like a puppy dog.
J - Jealous Of. My husband. I guard my love for him jealously.
K - Killed Someone. No.
L - Longest Relationship. My first husband and father of my children, one day short of 41 years. I spent our anniversary at the funeral home.
M - Middle Name. Vanessa.
N - Number of Siblings. 0...I'm an only child. My dad was an only child. My mom had 2 brothers. When my mom was lost in her earlier days because of Alzheimer's, she told me there was another baby. but it died.
O - One Wish. I get only one? To find myself...the artist I always tried to be, wanted to be. I am inspired here, but distressed because of my hubby's persistent sinus problems. There is no mold in this house whatsoever, but he still suffers. It's worse when it rains. I have no idea why. He says he smells mold outside. I smell pine trees. It's all fresh air here. He's a mess. Maybe my One Wish is my husband's health. I've told him we could move, but it would mean him finding another job, and he says he doesn't want to do that. Seeing a specialist means driving to Eureka. There are no specialists here.
P - Person You Last Called. My voicemail.
Q - Question You're Always Asked. What brought me to Crescent City. My daughter offered us an escape from stinky Northwest Indiana where we lived next to the ever roaring Expressway with its diesel smoke and endless rumble from semi trucks in a neighborhood that was quickly declining and house values plummeting to insane lows.
R - Reason to Live. Because I was given life. I must be here for a reason....
S - Song You Last Sang. "Try" by Pink, since I was listening to it earlier (see letter "F")
T - Time you woke up. 7 am
U - Underwear color. Boring white at the moment.
V - Vacation Destination. I would love to see Sedona Arizona. I have a cousin there. I would love to go back to Kosovo and spend more wonderful mornings and evenings in coffee shops, buying Albanian Pita at bakeries and just walking around enjoying life there.
W - Worst Habit. I have a worst one? Biting my hangnails maybe.
X - X-Rays you've had. Besides teeth....chest, breast, knee, abdomen.
Y - Your favorite food. Yogurt
Z - Zodiac Sign. Cancer. It's said the best love match in all Astrology is Cancer and Scorpio. My hubby is Scorpio. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rain Again

It's the rainy season, and this year it seems like we are getting what they say is the normal amount for this area. The mountains are also getting snow. No one is sure if this year will break the drought here in California. We need lots of snow in the mountains because snow melt fills the reservoirs.

Yesterday was sunny, the one sunny day between all the rain. I enjoyed it, but it was too short this time of the year. I finished a project I had in my mind lately. I wanted to place my succulents on a shelf where they could get some of that fleeting sun and not be so drenched by the rains. Here's what I did.

 The plastic deflects the majority of the rain from the roof. We have gutters, but when it pours they can't keep up. I can also lower the plastic if we have a frost, or maybe just too much rain. The shelf is sloping back a little too much, so I need to adjust it the next sunny day.

My friend, A :-) who writes Knit and Run mentioned some health problems she is having. I have my own share as well. Processed food absolutely gives me inflammation. My sensitivity seems to be soy or other plant proteins that have been isolated and concentrated, usually for flavor.  I also have severe issues with nuts, and I'm much better off with no nuts in my diet. I have trouble eating enough protein, since I can't get it from nuts and I just don't enjoy eating a lot of meat. For one thing, it's hard to chew because I'm missing some of my teeth. I have a love/hate relationship with eggs. I love eggs as long as they don't taste like eggs, meaning I need to cover the flavor with something else. They also give me gas...

My hair keeps getting thinner. I have been taking thyroid medicine for several years, and my levels are good. The year I started taking Levothyroxin I lost 10 pounds. I grew my hair long by taking Biotin. However, a bunch of my hair fell out a few months after we moved. The move was absolutely over the top stressful, so I think that had a lot to do with it. I also have stress on my job and was getting sick constantly. I was developing a lot of belly fat or bloating.  Turns out I have very low Vitamin D. Taking D3 1,000 IU every day is helping a lot. I haven't been sick since I started taking it and the belly is getting better. My hair is still thin...

So, other than fighting the inevitable effects of aging, I'm doing ok. My hubby loves me beyond words, in spite of the fact that he is obviously years younger than me. Thankfully most people think I'm younger than I am.

I have 3 hours to do stuff before I need to get ready for work, so on that note, I better get busy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

My friend, A :-) wrote about "Ten Places You Hang Out", but if I did that, it would be home, work, and my husband listed 8 times. So instead of boring you with how much my hubby and I hang out together, I thought I would choose Ten Traditions From Kosovo, or at least, from my hubby's family.

1. Bread is a gift from God. Bread is not stored on the table, it should be put away. If it is moldy it should not be tossed into the garbage like a basketball (yeah...I've done that). Instead it should simply be thrown away. Bread crumbs should be cleaned up from the table and the floor and they should not be walked on.

2. Blessings. One should (quietly, to themselves, if they wish) thank God for their food before eating, and invoke God's blessing when leaving the house, driving, working, or any other time you feel like it. It's a personal thing, not a public display.

3. Shoes. Off at the door. Slippers or socks are for inside. Leave the outdoor dirt outside. We break this rule when we bring in groceries, but we never wear shoes upstairs.

4. Animals. Animals are supposed to live outside. They should have food, water and shelter and be cared for, but they don't belong in the house or in our beds. However, hubby broke this one when he found our bunny, Tuki. He loves Tuki and our bunny lives in the laundry room downstairs. He happily hops out to greet us and begs for treats. He also chews on the legs of the kitchen table, but we don't care because it's old and chewing wood is good for bunny's teeth.

5. Household duties. My hubby is the man of the house. He does the man stuff (heavy things, taking out the garbage, washing the car, and working very hard at Rumiano. He takes care of me and wants to do things to make me happy. In turn, I do the cleaning and cooking, but he also leaves all the money responsibilities to me. Thankfully I will be leaving my job the end of this year, so I can have more time at home and hubby can take the car to work. With the shorter days, the street he takes to come home is as dark as a black hole, and sometimes it's pouring rain and cold. I've been picking him up on my lunch break on the days I work.

6. Respect. It's not good to gossip about your spouse.

7. Food. I talked about bread, but there are other foods that have a deep meaning to Albanians. Pita, or spinach pie, is nothing like what the Greeks cook. It's much better. Albanian Baklava is also much better. It's made with a light sugar syrup. The Greeks use honey, and although we love honey, their version is too sweet. Pickled peppers, flavorful paprika, yogurt, olives, soft cheese, smoked beef sausage, all very traditional foods from Kosovo.

8. Coffee. Turkish style or cappuccino. Kosovo is such a joy to visit with all the coffee shops and bakeries with pita and other goodies. I make Turkish style coffee for my hubby. When we drive to Brookings we sit and enjoy cappuccino together and talk.

9. Things not to do. Pork should be avoided. It carries diseases and parasites, and traditionally, Albanians don't eat pork. However, if a person is starving and pork is the only thing there is to eat, one should eat, and not starve. Hair should be tied back when one cooks. Don't scratch your head while you are cooking. Never place scissors for cutting hair or hair brushes on the table. Don't cut hair in the kitchen. That is a big no-no.  Sneezing...I have seen his sister-in-law open the window and sneeze outside so as not to spread sneeze droplets in the house. Don't touch a lot of things in public places, and wash your hands right away.

10. Beauty. Albanians love beauty. They install beautiful tiles around their doors and hang gorgeous sheer curtains over their windows. Homes are simple and uncluttered, but what is there is beautiful.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stories from the Past

Some things I don't talk about much were my teen years, I guess because I feel like I'm shallow or bragging that I got to spend so much of my time in Hollywood just acting like a groupie. After living 8-1/2 years in the desert just north of Blythe, California, my parents and I moved to Los Angeles. It was the summer of 1963, and we had moved from 110 degrees to 80 degrees in Bell, California. I was cold, so I put on a sweater. The neighborhood kids asked if I was sick. I told them no, I just moved here from the desert and I'm cold.
"How come you aren't tan", they asked?
"Because it was too hot to lay in the sun."
I don't think they bought it.

We didn't stay in Bell very long. We started out living in a spacious 2 story apartment, but my dad's inability to find work mushroomed into problems. First they repossessed our car, which meant my dad had to take the bus. Job after job turned him down simply because he had bad legs.

When we lived in the desert my dad had massive blood clots in his legs. He nearly died. They stripped the clotted vessels from his legs. After a time (I was little...I don't recall how long) he came home, only to come down with pneumonia, so he was back in the hospital. I remember my dad was in and out of the hospital for nearly a year. My mom didn't drive, so we depended on neighbors to drive us the 22 miles to Blythe to visit my dad.

The story returns to L.A. The leg surgery left my dad with poor circulation in his legs. He wore compression stockings and took medicine. That's why no one would hire him. He passed all the intelligence tests with flying colors, but never a physical. Finally he made his way to Norris Industries. He took all the buses to the end of the line and then walked I don't know how far, a mile or more. They had a government contract, so they had to hire him regardless of physical condition. We were already behind on the rent, so we moved into a tiny house on a huge lot in Bell, California. My parents slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room and I had the only bedroom. It seems we always lived in tiny houses, so much so that spacious ones never feel like "home" to me. (I still feel like I'm staying in a hotel in this 1296 sq. ft. spacious duplex).

One morning my parents were roused by pounding on the front door. Some man was shouting, "Anyone in there?" My mom opened the door to find a man and a crane with a wrecking ball, ready to smash apart the house! Apparently the landlord sold the property and forgot to tell us to move. They had to give us time to move.

We ended up renting another tiny house in Bell Gardens, California. I went to Google Maps and typed in 6933 Ajax Ave. and came up with a giant shopping center, so that residence is history as well. We lived next door to a family with 3 kids and one older son in the Navy. All four shared the mother but the older son was from a previous marriage. We met when he came for a visit. I was just turning 18 when we met. We ended up getting married. He was my first husband and the father of my daughters. But that's another story.

The older daughter and I became fast friends. I also met two other girls from Long Beach at the Teenage Fair in Hollywood. Most of my teen years were spent in Hollywood. It was a fun time, before the bums hit the streets, before drugs ruined it. The girl next door and I would take the bus or the girls I met at the fair would pick me up (one had a car). I saw the Beetles in concert twice. I saw the Animals at the Hullabaloo. Here's a little bit of Hollywood from the Producers Library, KHJ and Wilshire Blvd in the 60's.

I met Mark Lindsay after he did an interview at one of the radio stations. The front door was heavily guarded, with teenage girls trying to enter. I grabbed my girlfriend and said, "Lets go around back!" The back door was unlocked, so we crept in through a back storage room, and crouching down outside the booth, we could see Mark and the DJ. After a few minutes Security found us and ushered us out the FRONT door, much to the dismay of the other girls. After a time, Mark came out and signed autographs. At one point I was standing in front of him. He was so tall, and those brown eyes....then he bent forward and kissed me on the lips, and then he was gone.

The three of us, me and the two girls from Long Beach, used to attend every concert by Sky Saxon and the Seeds. They were so used to us being at their concerts they would scan the audience and wave when they saw us. At one of the concerts the lead singer, Sky Saxon, pulled me up on stage. I was mortified, and my shin was skinned. He took me back stage and cleaned my leg with his handkerchief, and then signed it! I still have it lol

My girlfriend from Long Beach worked as a receptionist at the Century Plaza Hotel. There she met the Young Rascals. The drummer, Dino Danelli, fell in love with her. One day she and I were driving everywhere, having fun. Later she dropped me off at my house and she went home. She was still living with her parents at this time. Turns out Dino had been sitting on her porch for 5 hours waiting for her to come home. She told me they walked by the beach and he proposed, but she turned him down. She didn't want that life.

We used to go to the free tapings of teen music TV shows. We found out you could just write to the studio and they would send free tickets because they needed an audience. It was guaranteed to be a long day because they would tape several episodes in one day. We saw many personalities and musicians.

The last I heard from my girlfriend from Long Beach was many years ago after I had married. She had been unlucky in love, having hooked up with a married man and broken up when she discovered the truth. I don't know where she is or if she married. I have searched, but cannot find her. I guess she didn't want to find me. I'm still in touch with "the kids next door". The youngest girl, a real beauty, sadly passed away from cancer. The brother and older daughter are in my friends list on facebook.

I sold almost all of my KRLA Beats and teen magazines for pretty good prices a few years ago.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Today was a nice day to be home

It's been chilly, we're running the pellet stove much longer. Thankfully it doesn't cost much. Also, twice a year we get an energy credit from the state of California. It was enough to pay our next two electric bills! The credit can be used however you want. The state hopes you will use it to weatherize your house, but since we are renters, we just had them apply it to our bill(s).

My plants didn't seem to suffer from the cold night we had. It's been chilly every night, but no more frost. I love our sunny days. I was out in shirt sleeves for part of the day. My plants:

I have been transplanting the succulents that seem to stay wet into a new potting mix of pumice, some red lava rocks and very little soil. With the rains we get they must dry out fast or they will rot. This is my first attempt at growing succulents outside in winter. 

In other news, my daughter bought herself a violin. I wish her well in her lessons. I think that's great. 

Well, the table is set, dinner is done, just waiting for hubby to text me to come pick him up. It's almost 7:30. They must have had a lot of cheese beds to clean.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Once Again I have Skipped Days

My hubby and I both worked Saturday. Sunday we drove to Springfield Oregon, in the pouring rain, in the mountains, on curvy roads. I was hoping hubby's wanderlust wouldn't take him so far again in winter. It's too stressful. Thankfully he agreed, no more long distance driving in bad weather. For me, the highlight of the trip were the fall colors in Grants Pass.

We have native Maples here that turn golden. There are many along the Smith River. If we get a Sunny Sunday maybe we can go so I can get some pictures before all the leaves are gone.

Today is Tuesday, and for those who write during National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo---I have trouble wrapping my head around the abbreviation) it's "Ten on Tuesday". Ten what, I wonder?

1. Ten things I'm thankful for.
2. Ten things I miss from the Midwest.
3. Ten things I've gained.
4. Ten things I lost.
5. Ten things I'm afraid of.
6. Ten things I love about where I am.
7. Ten things things I would change if I could.
8. Ten Poems I've written
9. Ten pets I've had
10. Ten places I've lived. 

There's my ten. Maybe I will expand on some of them....later.

This morning was cold, 37 degrees at 7 am, with frost. That's a heavy frost on the roofs across the street. It melted as soon as the sun came up.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Under a Starry Sky

4:30 am, I have the day off, so I told hubby I would warm up the car for him. "Are you sure?" he asks. "Yeah, it's fine!" I answer as I grab my jacket. After all, I'm not working today and yesterday his throat was sore.

I walk out into the chilly night under a canopy of stars, not as many stars as the desert, but far more than in the city. I see my familiar friends...Orion, the Pleiades, Cassiopeia, and a most beautiful crescent moon with a trio of planets, Venus, Jupiter and Mars. I start the car and rush back in to grab my camera. "The moon! It's beautiful!" I tell hubby.

I take a few shots. I know they won't be great. I just don't have the camera for good moon shots.

Later, after I edit them, I am reminded of my high school science extra credit report that I did mid-winter in Los Aangeles. Amid "freezing" temperatures (I thought), I set up the telescope each night and trained it on Jupiter. I hand-drew the positions of the 4 larger moons. My teacher was impressed.

My telescope followed me to the Midwest, but it was rarely used. Summer nights were humming with mosquitoes. I detest wearing repellent. It requires a lot of spray to ward off bites. Bugs love me, mosquitoes, fleas, you name it, if they bite, they will find me. Then there is the humidity. I absolutely detest humidity. I was married 41 years to first hubby and for 41 years I heard, "You'll get used to it." But nooooo I never did, and I moved out of it as soon as I could.

Winter is another story. Midwest winters are COLD. not L.A. at night or Crescent City at night cold, but freeze your @ss off cold. that I do miss. I miss the colors. We have fall colors here, but the predominant pine forests keep the landscape mostly green. I left my telescope with my older daughter, her new hubby and his two kids. That's OK.

Changing the subject. I worked yesterday. It was crazy. A large portion of residents here receive government checks, apparently, because they all swarm into Walmart soon after the third of the month. As everyone does, items are not placed back in proper spots on the shelves and unwanted items are jettisoned off shopping carts everywhere. I had a cart full of items to return to the shelves, plus straightening up plus stocking. My department manager lamented about the mess and the fact that no one is there on Sundays since they gave me that day off.

"I'm not giving up my Sunday." I answered.

She told me she will need to talk to her manager. She even tried to make me feel guilty by telling me that she and her boyfriend work completely different shifts and never get to see each other, and that she might need to come in to work on Sunday. She is understandably stressed. Walmart always pushes Department Managers to the limit.

My hubby, having gotten home early yesterday, dropped me off at work and bought me a coffee. I took him aside and told him what my manager said. "Don't give up your Sunday!" he said. "Even if they give you bulls__t, don't do it. Quit if you want to. It's not your problem if they can't find someone to work on Sunday" he reassured me.

This month is a strange one at Walmart. Corporate HQ told the managers to cut employee hours by 1,000 hours. Everyone has their hours cut, but the same amount of work needs to be completed. The holidays are coming, and even more work must be done, by the same few people, in fewer hours. Overtime is absolutely NOT allowed. If anyone in the store works overtime then payroll goes over 100%, and that is darkly frowned upon by Corporate. Employees who repeatedly clock out late will be "coached" (scolded) . Furthermore, Walmart stock is dropping and share holders are nervous. Corporate tries to explain it by saying it's because they had to raise employee wages and because of all the shrink in US markets. Shrink is theft. Walmart...the store everyone loves to hate, but they still shop there.

Enough of that. It's 6:38 am, time for my nap. I want to get some things done today, and then take a walk with my hubby when he gets home from work. Here is a moon shot from this morning.
There was a third planet somewhere, but it's not showing up...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Short Sunny Days

It rains often here in winter, but the sunny days are glorious. I only have a few minutes to write before I leave for work, 2 pm to 9 pm...yuck! I'm bringing yogurt and potting soil to my daughter. She is off work but shopping, so we will meet up in the parking lot. I bought the wrong yogurt, It has Aspartame in it, so I can't eat it. I made up a soil mix for her succulent starts. I added some of the pumice I bought in Brookings. OK, I'm on my way soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How is it Wednesday Already?

How was it I didn't write yesterday and the day before?

Because when my hubby works the early shift my days blend into each other. I get up at 3:30 am. light the pellet stove, put his lunch together, wake him up, decide if he can take the car or I need it, in which case I drive him to work, come back, eat something (because I'm always hungry in the morning), go back to bed, wake up, try to focus on a small lunch and not cave into a second breakfast, figure out the rest of the day.

Do I work today [] Yes [] No

Do I have something for dinner and time to cook it? [] Yes [] No

My new work schedule gives me Sunday off (yay!) and fewer days per week (yay!) but later hours, such as 3 to 9 pm (boo). There is no way I can fall into bed the moment I get home, so I'm often up until 11 pm, which only gives me four and a half hours before I get up again. Even on days I don't work I usually can't fall asleep early enough to get 7 or 8 hours sleep before 3:30 am.  I also can't fall back asleep after being up for over an hour, so typically I take my nap about now...7 am. Another 4 hours gives me a less-then-ideal 8 hours of broken sleep. That gives me some time to wash clothes, cook, play with my succulents, pick up my hubby from work or go to work.

If any of you are wondering why I even get up, I have always gotten up with my hubby. I did it with my first hubby and I do it with my new hubby. My choice. Period. End of story.

One more week of early shift and he will be on another shift, maybe the late shift, meaning my sleep won't be broken. More later...I'm off to take my nap.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


It's November, and I signed up for National Blog Posting Month. Why not give it a try? It's raining, we just had a time change (meaning it's getting dark early) and I'm working less (thankfully, more time at home and for my hobbies).

Today was our first day off work together, and it poured rain all day. We thought about driving to Medford, Oregon but the exit for I-199 was closed, probably from a landslide from all the rain. We drove to Brookings, Oregon instead. Gas is cheaper but groceries, not so much. We came home with a 6-pack of Italian beer. I never tasted Italian beer. We are not really drinkers, but it's nice to relax once in awhile.

If you have been reading my posts you might have noticed my succulent-collecting spree. It was nipped in the bud by the sun slipping south and my growing areas now shaded even more than in summer. The only spot that gets good sun is my upstairs spare bedroom window. Oh well, so much for growing succulents outside. In a last-ditch effort I bought a plastic Halloween prop, a black plastic "cauldron" that will make an excellent large, cheap pot that I can place by the corner of the garage for some Aeonium starts. I have learned they are winter growers, but they need full sun. Thus the corner of the garage location. I'll post some pictures later.

Now that I know my two growing areas are "iffy" for succulents, I've been thinking about what else I can grow there. Here is my climate:
Maritime zone 9
Summer days: mid to upper 60's, some 70's, rare 80's, dry, sunny.
Summer nights: low 60's, some 50's, some heavy dew.
Winter days: mostly in the 50's, some 60's, partly sunny or cloudy.
Winter nights: mostly in the 50's, some 40's can get light frost in January, heavy dew, fog.
Storms: winter storms bring heavy rain, sometimes very high winds, rain events can last 2 or 3 days.

So I'm wondering---Cymbidium Orchids? I suppose I could grow what grows naturally here, but I'm not interested in Hydrangeas or Rhododendrons, which are bushes and need to be planted in the ground anyway. With only a patio and gravel, I'm stuck with pots. There is a Fuchsia Society but I am not interested in them, either. >sigh< I don't want to spend a fortune, and I don't want light stands in the house.